Wind postpones record skydive bid
on 09/10/2012 13:31:14
Winds on the ground into the south-eastern New Mexico desert are still, but are in the high teens at about 700 feet, which is about the height of the top of the balloon that will lift him to altitude.
Baumgarterner's team is on hold, hoping the winds die down in time to get the mission prepared and the helium balloon launched before the window for a high-altitude flight closes.
The hold came at noon Irish Time and the team have until 1700 Irish Time to launch.
Spokesman Robert Hager said if the weather hold is lifted, it would take about an hour and half to get the balloon filled and Baumgartner secured in his capsule to make the mission, which has already been delayed one day by high winds.
The balloon had been scheduled to launch about 1400 Irish Time from a field near the airport in the flat dusty town of Roswell that until now has been best known for a rumoured 1947 UFO landing.
After a nearly three-hour descent to 120,000 feet Baumgartner will take a bunny-style hop from a pressurised capsule into a near-vacuum where there is barely any oxygen to begin what is expected to be the fastest, farthest free fall from the highest-ever manned balloon.
While Baumgartner hopes to set four new world records, his free fall is more than just a stunt.
His dive from the stratosphere should provide scientists with valuable information for next-generation spacesuits and techniques that could help astronauts survive accidents.
Jumping from more than three times the height of the average cruising altitude for jetliners, Baumgartner expects to hit a speed of 690 mph or more before he activates his parachute at 9,500 feet above sea level, or about 5,000 feet above the ground. The total jump should take about 10 minutes.