Red Bull Stratos: Follow BASE jumper Felix Baumgartner as he prepares to attempt four world records by free falling from the edge of space.
The current edition of The Red Bulletin features a lengthy conversation with the World’s most innovative BASE-jumper, Austria’s Felix Baumgartner, 42. As the clock is ticking for his free fall from the edge of space (36,576m), we recap his preparation time in Roswell, New Mexico with a selection of photos and quotes from the air adventurer. Right now Felix is getting into the right mindset and a special space suit to break several records held by US Air Force test pilot Col. Joe Kittinger who took the leap of faith in 1960. Find out many more details about this historic event on redbullstratos.com.
“Agent 502” Felix Baumgartner and Colonel Joe Kittinger with Joe's 1960s space suit. Felix: “We're pioneers, constantly entering new territory.”
Life support engineer Mike Todd of the United States Air Force during the space suit fitting process. Felix: “Mike forced me to imagine a son and trying to explain to him what Red Bull Stratos means to me.”
Looks kind of funny, but in fact is dead serious: Bungee tests with the space suit in May 2011. Felix: “The suit should feel like a second skin but it'll never be like that. Your movements and perceptions are restricted.”
The surrounding of Roswell, New Mexico, the location of Red Bull Stratos. Free falling from helicopters was part of the preparations.
Jumping inside the suit was easy, Felix says, but being confined to movement restriction and the dead silence once the visor is closed proved psychologically daunting, even for a daredevil like Felix.
Felix: “No one would ever have guessed that wearing a space suit would threaten the mission, me included. In the end the symptoms developed into panic attacks. I'd easily mastered what seemed like huge obstacles (pressure tests at -60°C, altitude simulations, free fall in a pressure suit), but now my own head was letting me down.”
Felix's instant home on the edge of space (at least for the five hour duration of the experiment), the egg like capsule during the Brooks chamber test in San Antonio, Texas.
In the hot seat: Felix Baumgartner's nom de guerre as a BASE-jumper has always been agent 502. This tradition will be carried into the orbit.
“Easy now, son. Just breathe like you're steppin' out onto yer porch on a spring mornin'!” Kind advice from Joe Kittinger, who had done his scientific duty 52 years ago.
The mission control is a cozy place – compared to the inside of Felix's capsule.
Felix inside his mortal body inside the space suit inside the capsule: “When you know the camera is on you, you even brush your teeth differently. We're in the limelight here, with the world watching – there's no room for error.”
Photos © Sven Hoffmann, Christian Pondella, Jay Nemeth and Garth Milan / Red Bull Content Pool and Webhorizons
Interview quotes: Werner Jessner / The Red Bulletin