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Human Crash Test Monkeys Joe Kittinger, John Stapp, Felix Baumgartner

Updated on October 14, 2012

Capt. Joe Kittinger

Highest chute jump on record
Highest chute jump on record

Col. John Stapp

Col. John Stapp Rocket Sled Tests
Col. John Stapp Rocket Sled Tests

Bravery in the name of Science

What is it about the human factor to face extremes in the face of death? Some are called madmen others heroes. Here I talk about some of those heroes who faced death to further our knowledge so that we could press onward in our en-devours to conquer our limitations and reach for the stars.

Captain Joe Kittinger (highest free-fall jump)

Captain Joe Kittinger risked his life for our knowledge in the name of science when he was recruited for a project called Excelsior from November 1959 to August 1960 where he made a series of high altitude jumps from an open gondola at the edge of space from high altitude helium balloons.During his first attempt he faced death when a malfunction in his equipment caused him to lose consciousness. His auto-chute opened though and this saved his life. On his second jump he went into a flat spin at a rotation of more than 120 rpms where he experienced over 22 G's or 22 times the force of gravity, a record that still lives on today. On his last jump he had a drag chute for stabilization and he fell for four minutes and 36 seconds reaching a speed of 614 mph, he said he believed he had broken the sound barrier but science said he was at .09 the speed of sound, he still says he felt the shockwave. The pressure in his right glove malfunctioned and his hand swelled to over twice its normal size. He broke the worlds fastest human atmospheric jump record.

Col. John Stapp (Voluntarily experienced massive G-Forces from high acceleration)

Stapp tested the speeds at which a human being could withstand peak G-forces during ejections from jet fighters on a rocket sled in the New Mexico desert. He was accelerated in a series of tests to over 632 mph by rockets and then stopped in less than one second. At the fastest speed Stapp experienced more than 43 G's when he stopped and he suffered massive bruising and bleeding blisters caused by high speed dust particles, the blood vessels in his eyes exploded and bleed out causing him to have permanent vision problems for the rest of his life.


Felix Baumgartner Space Jump 2012

Sunday October 14th 2012

Felix Baumgartner of Austria, ex-military airborne, and now world famous base jumper made history taking part in the highest free fall jump in history. Felix Baumgartner part of the Red Bull Stratos project at an altitude of 128,000 feet stepped off the edge of a capsule and into wild blue yonder. He fell faster than the speed of sound within the first minute of his fall. He ascended for six hours into the atmosphere on a helium filled weather balloon followed by a crew at mission control on the ground below. He was in a suspended gondola and monitored by mission control and by camera, the mission was commanded by Captain Joe Kittinger who set the high altitude free fall jump in 1962. Baumgartner jumped from the Gondola above Roswell New Mexico. His decent took 4 minutes to complete. Reaching the ground he fell to his knees his thumbs up in triumph. Way to go Felix, way to go.



Felix Baumgartner

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