Photo Credit: Red Bull
One of my favorite scenes in J.J. Abrams' Star Trek is when Kirk, Sulu and Olson “space jump” from Pike's shuttle down to the Romulan energy drill. Free falling from space through Earth's atmosphere seems like it would be a thrill-seekers dream and now Austrian daredevil Felix Baumgartner is actually going to give it a try.
He won't technically be falling from space, instead just reaching the edge, but this July Baumgartner will strap himself into a pressurized capsule and take a balloon ride up to 120,000 feet just so he can jump out and free fall back to Earth. His goal is to break the sound barrier without the help of an aircraft and if he succeeds he will be the first man to ever do so.
The ascent will take 3.5 hours and Baumgartner will also be wearing a specialized pressure suit so that when he leaves the capsule his blood doesn't boil from the -70 F degree temperatures. When Baumgartner jumps out he'll free fall for approximately five and a half minutes before releasing his parachute at 5,000 feet and safely returning to solid ground.
Baumgartner will reach the record breaking speeds within 30 seconds of leaving the capsule. On top of that, if he's successful, Baumgartner will not only be the first person to break the sound barrier without an aircraft, but would also be breaking records for the highest manned balloon flight, the longest free fall duration and the highest skydive.
Baumgartner told FoxNews.com the launch window for the Red Bull Stratos event starts in July in New Mexico -- a definite date has not yet been announced. You can learn more about Felix Baumgartner and the groundbreaking mission at RedBullStratos.com.