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A 57-Year-Old Man Skydives from Stratosphere and Breaks Baumgartner’s Record


Image credit: Paragon Space Development Corporation

On October 9, 2012, by his famous plummeting of 128,100 feet to our planet, Earth Felix Baumgartner set the world record for highest-altitude jump. This event, sponsored by Red Bull, was lively witnessed by 12.6 million people all over the world. However, this record was broken by Alan Eustace, a computer scientist aged fifty-seven, when he jumped from over a mile higher at 135,890 feet in the early hours of the morning on of October 24, this year.

In partnership with Paragon Space Development Corporation, Alan Eustace’s action was aimed to test one of the company’s life support spacesuits; although it was not the public showcase. The suit Eustace was wearing offered protection to him from the sharp temperature changes when he went up and then fell down through the atmosphere, thus providing pure oxygen so as help him breathe.

As the senior VP at Google, Eustace was lifted off by a big balloon full of helium from a runway in Roswell, New Mexico. Being attached directly to his spacesuit, such balloon pulled him up to his desired altitude in the period of two hours. Different from Baumgartner who was transported with a capsule, Eustace was actually able to be soaked in the height from where he was planning to descend and got the real experience of the altitude changes. As soon as it was the time for him to jump, a small explosive device disconnected him from the balloon, and it only took 15 minutes for him to fall  down to the Earth’s surface in the course of more than twenty-five miles.

It was quite amazing that in his free fall Eustace’s speed was 822 miles per hour, which allowed him to break the speed of sound less than two minutes. When reaching 18,000 feet, he opened his parachute opened and safely landed on the ground nearly 70 miles away from the place where he was launched.