Keep your eye on the edge of space Tuesday morning — a human will be falling from it. In an attempt to break a 52-year-old record, Felix Baumgartner will step off of a balloon 23 miles above the Earth and free-fall through the atmosphere. Baumgartner, an Austrian skydiver, BASE jumper and all-around daredevil, has partnered with Red Bull in the Stratos project, which is attempting to net him a number of world records. The planning process has been a seven-year endeavor, filled with scientific and technological details flying from all angles. So we thought we’d crunch the numbers.
-90 degrees Fahrenheit: Minimum air temperature Baumgartner’s specially-designed pressurized spacesuit can withstand.
-10 degrees Fahrenheit: Air temperature predicted 23 miles up as Baumgartner steps out of his capsule.
Less than 1%: Air pressure at the altitude of Baumgartner’s jump, as a percentage of that at sea level.
55 stories: Height of the 30-million-cubic-foot helium balloon that will hoist Baumgartner and his 2,900-pound protective capsule into space.
2: Number of practice runs before Tuesday’s record-breaking attempt. His first practice fall was from 71,000 feet in March 2012, and his second was from 97,000 feet in July.
3: Number of cameras attached to Baumgartner’s suit to record his descent. He’ll have one on each thigh and one on his chest pack.
5: Number of records Baumgartner’s jump will break if successful. He’s aiming to be the first human to ever break the sound barrier in free-fall and to claim the records for highest free-fall altitude, highest manned balloon flight and longest free-fall. His jump platform is believed to be the largest manned balloon in history.
5 minutes and 35 seconds: Amount of time Baumgartner is expected to free-fall.
6:00 a.m. Mountain time: Time on Tuesday when the man known as “Fearless Felix” will drop from his capsule at the edge of space over Roswell, New Mexico.
6 mph: Maximum wind speed for a safe launch. The initial launch was delayed one day, until Tuesday, because of a cold front bringing strong winds to the drop site.
12 lbs.: Weight of Baumgartner’s chest pack, which contains all of his monitoring and tracking systems.
20 minutes: Maximum amount of time he’ll spend dropping through the atmosphere. He’ll spend a majority of that time – as many as 15 minutes – slowly descending to earth after opening his parachute.
34 seconds: The time it will take him to go from 0 to 690 mph (Mach 1, the speed of sound). Air Force Col. Joe Kittinger, the current height and speed record holder, only made it to 614 mph during his jump 52 years ago from 102,900 feet. Baumgartner would be the first person to break the sound barrier if he manages to do so during his jump.
43: The age of Baumgartner, a native of Salzburg, Austria.
220 rpm: Rate of spin Baumgartner could reach while falling. Tests have shown that a human spinning at 140 rpm can be harmful and quite possibly fatal.
260 lbs.: Complete weight of Baumgartner’s pressurized space suit.
120,000 feet: The atmospheric height, laying right at the edge of space, from which Baumgartner will start his BASE jump.
5,000 feet: The altitude at which Baumgartner will deploy his parachute, after 5½ minutes (and 115,000 feet) of free-fall.
Your Guess Is As Good As Ours: Cost of the Red Bull Stratos project, which has required more than seven years of development, two practice runs, and hundreds of thousands of dollars spent on developing Baumgartner’s helium balloon and safety equipment.
0: Number of jumps he’ll perform after this one. Baumgartner says he plans to settle down with his girlfriend after this, limiting his daredevil skills to flying helicopters on rescue and firefighting missions in the U.S. and his native Austria.