Felix Baumgartner Paper

Topics: Atmosphere, Atmospheric pressure, Pressure Pages: 2 (485 words) Published: May 27, 2013
On 14 October, 2012, Felix Baumgartner jumped to Earth from a helium balloon, 24 miles above New Mexico, as a part of the Red Bull Stratos project. Baumgartner broke the record for highest skydive and highest manned-balloon flight, and was the first human to break the sound barrier without vehicle assistance. Behind the man is the story of science. For Baumgartner to break the sound barrier, he would need to travel really far up. In the Troposphere, the first layer of the atmosphere, the maximum velocity a skydiver can reach is about 200 miles per hour. But in the less dense Stratosphere, starting six miles above ground, there is less air resistance, allowing Baumgartner to fall at over 800 miles per hour. But when Baumgartner got into the Stratosphere, he faced a whole series of new problems. On the ground, the entire atmosphere is pushing down on water, stopping it from evaporating. At about 12 miles above sea level, the atmospheric pressure gets so low that the heat of the body causes the water in the lungs to boil away. To prevent his death, Baumgartner wore a pressurized suit that kept his body at a safe pressure. To get that high up, Red Bull Stratos designed a state of the art capsule. Weighing 1.45 tons, the capsule was made of four parts: a pressure sphere, a support cage, a shell, and crush pads. The pressure sphere reduced the chance of decompression sickness. Decompression sickness happens when dissolved gases, like nitrogen, bubble out of solution due to the low pressure on them. These bubbles can cause anything from pain to paralysis to death. The sphere was pressurized to simulate being three miles up from Earth, assimilating Baumgartner’s body to low pressures. The support cage and shell provided most of the structural strength of the capsule. The shell also insulated Baumgartner in the Stratosphere, where the temperature is -70 degrees Fahrenheit. The honey combed shaped crush pads protected the capsule during its parachute landing, allowing...
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