ROSWELL, NM (NEWS1130) – They say the third time is the charm, and that’s what extreme athlete Felix Baumgartner is hoping this morning.
The Austrian daredevil skydiver will, weather permitting, make his third attempt to break the sound barrier with an unprecedented jump.
Assuming everything goes as planned, Baumgartner will be the first person to intentionally break the sound-barrier when he free-falls from more than 30,000 metres above the New Mexico desert.
The jump had to be cancelled on two other occasions last week due to excessive winds. Weather conditions need to be close to perfect to ensure the safety and success of the mission.
Weather conditions this morning are expected to be favourable, and as things stand the jump will go ahead.
Jonathan Clark is heading up the Austrian skydiver’s medical team.
“If you’re going to be above 50,000 feet you wear a pressure suit, or a capsule, above 63,000 feet that’s the layer where water in a liquid state at body temperature spontaneously boils,” Clark said.
The 43-year-old skydiver will travel into the sky in a balloon, which is set to launch from Roswell around 9:30 a.m.
When Baumgartner does reach the stratosphere, he’ll hurtle himself toward earth, at which point he is expected to reach speeds of more than 1,100 km/h before deploying his parachute.
One of the major risks is that any tear or minor rip in his pressurized suit could expose him to a lack of oxygen and temperatures as low as 70 degrees below zero.
“Three or four minutes of exposure is still survivable, it’s not going to be pretty, he’ll have severe lung damage, but we have three teams positioned around the landing site so that we can get to him very quickly,” Clark said.
He could also lose consciousness and spiral out of control, failing to deploy his parachute.
The project, called Red Bull Stratos, is sponsored by the energy drink maker. (Stratos refers to the stratosphere.) The project costs have not been disclosed.
His dive from the stratosphere is expected to provide scientists with valuable information for next-generation spacesuits.
The event, when it does happen, has been five years in the making.