3 Notes

Where are they now?
The Red Bull Stratos team hasn’t exactly been taking it easy since they completed the mission two years ago (14 Oct 2012). Felix has been in demand all over the planet, from giving keynote speeches and doing magazine cover shoots to piloting helicopter flights for athletes and VIPs at sporting events. As always, he continues to challenge himself: this year he took on the 24 Hours Nürburgring auto race with Audi Race Experience.
“I really miss my Red Bull Stratos team, because without them I would have never been successful!” Felix says. So where are they now? Mike Todd, the life support engineer who got Felix suited up for every mission, has been giving presentations, and he took care of that suit throughout a museum tour that finished up at the Smithsonian Institution, where Felix’s equipment is now part of the permanent collection on display in the Udvar-Hazy Center. We caught up a few other team members in person to find out what they’re up to.
Art Thompson [Technical Project Director] 
“The lessons learned from Red Bull Stratos are already being actively applied by the Air Force and NASA – for example, after studying the atmosphere we created in Felix’s capsule, the altitude pressure inside U-2 aircraft has been changed to reduce decompression sickness. My company Sage Cheshire Aerospace is also supporting development for programs like a space taxi that could eventually go to Mars, and we’re promoting science education around the world, including working with universities to teach graduate students about mission control and flight test methods.”
Joe Kittinger [Colonel USAF (Retired), Mission Consultant]
“I’ve been traveling to share my experiences on Red Bull Stratos and other projects, consulting on programs like a trans-Atlantic balloon attempt and working with other team members to mentor university students as they prepare for aerospace careers. Another project close to my heart is leading an effort to install an F-4 Phantom jet as a monument to Central Florida veterans at a park that’s named after me in Orlando.”
Dr. Jonathan Clark [Medical Director]
“While I’m continuing to teach at Baylor College of Medicine and the University of Texas Medical Branch, I’ve been doing a lot of traveling to share our findings and also to work with the next generation. On the two-year anniversary today, several of us are on the Cal State Los Angeles campus doing a STEM [science, technology, engineering and mathematics] event. It’s so cool to see the passion of these students – I think we’re going to be seeing some really important strides in space safety.”
Luke Aikins [Skydiving Consultant]
“I’ve been doing demonstration jumps with wingsuits and parachutes all over the world, and I spent a year and a half putting together my baby, the Red Bull Aces wingsuit contest, which we’ll be continuing next year. I also train military jumpers, plus I’m planning for a skydive that I’ll be making myself in 2015 – which won’t be from a high altitude like Felix, but will definitely be history-making. And then there’s my favorite thing, raising my two-and-a-half-year-old son!”
Jay Nemeth [Director of High-Altitude Photography]
"My company FlightLine Films is now supporting the private space sector with long-range optical tracking of rocket launches, and putting cameras inside private spacecraft."

Where are they now?

The Red Bull Stratos team hasn’t exactly been taking it easy since they completed the mission two years ago (14 Oct 2012). Felix has been in demand all over the planet, from giving keynote speeches and doing magazine cover shoots to piloting helicopter flights for athletes and VIPs at sporting events. As always, he continues to challenge himself: this year he took on the 24 Hours Nürburgring auto race with Audi Race Experience.

“I really miss my Red Bull Stratos team, because without them I would have never been successful!” Felix says. So where are they now? Mike Todd, the life support engineer who got Felix suited up for every mission, has been giving presentations, and he took care of that suit throughout a museum tour that finished up at the Smithsonian Institution, where Felix’s equipment is now part of the permanent collection on display in the Udvar-Hazy Center. We caught up a few other team members in person to find out what they’re up to.

Art Thompson [Technical Project Director] 

“The lessons learned from Red Bull Stratos are already being actively applied by the Air Force and NASA – for example, after studying the atmosphere we created in Felix’s capsule, the altitude pressure inside U-2 aircraft has been changed to reduce decompression sickness. My company Sage Cheshire Aerospace is also supporting development for programs like a space taxi that could eventually go to Mars, and we’re promoting science education around the world, including working with universities to teach graduate students about mission control and flight test methods.”

Joe Kittinger [Colonel USAF (Retired), Mission Consultant]

“I’ve been traveling to share my experiences on Red Bull Stratos and other projects, consulting on programs like a trans-Atlantic balloon attempt and working with other team members to mentor university students as they prepare for aerospace careers. Another project close to my heart is leading an effort to install an F-4 Phantom jet as a monument to Central Florida veterans at a park that’s named after me in Orlando.”

Dr. Jonathan Clark [Medical Director]

“While I’m continuing to teach at Baylor College of Medicine and the University of Texas Medical Branch, I’ve been doing a lot of traveling to share our findings and also to work with the next generation. On the two-year anniversary today, several of us are on the Cal State Los Angeles campus doing a STEM [science, technology, engineering and mathematics] event. It’s so cool to see the passion of these students – I think we’re going to be seeing some really important strides in space safety.”

Luke Aikins [Skydiving Consultant]

“I’ve been doing demonstration jumps with wingsuits and parachutes all over the world, and I spent a year and a half putting together my baby, the Red Bull Aces wingsuit contest, which we’ll be continuing next year. I also train military jumpers, plus I’m planning for a skydive that I’ll be making myself in 2015 – which won’t be from a high altitude like Felix, but will definitely be history-making. And then there’s my favorite thing, raising my two-and-a-half-year-old son!”

Jay Nemeth [Director of High-Altitude Photography]

"My company FlightLine Films is now supporting the private space sector with long-range optical tracking of rocket launches, and putting cameras inside private spacecraft."

6 Notes

The Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum is the next stop for the Red Bull Stratos exhibit where it will find it’s permanent home. Patrons will be able to see the equipment used in the mission, including Baumgartner’s space suit and 3,200-pound capsule.
Where: Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum Independence Ave at 6th St, SW Washington, DC 20560
When: Wednesday, April 2, 2014 (exhibit runs until May 26 and then artifacts will live at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center indefinitely)
Public Hours: 10 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. daily with extended hours as part of the exhibition’s run.

For more information visit: http://airandspace.si.edu/visit/extended-hours.cfm
Or follow @redbullDC on twitter and instagram.

The Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum is the next stop for the Red Bull Stratos exhibit where it will find it’s permanent home. Patrons will be able to see the equipment used in the mission, including Baumgartner’s space suit and 3,200-pound capsule.

Where: Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum
Independence Ave at 6th St, SW Washington, DC 20560

When: Wednesday, April 2, 2014 (exhibit runs until May 26 and then artifacts will live at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center indefinitely)

Public Hours: 10 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. daily with extended hours as part of the exhibition’s run.

For more information visit: http://airandspace.si.edu/visit/extended-hours.cfm

Or follow @redbullDC on twitter and instagram.

8 Notes

The Red Bull Stratos traveling exhibit continues this month in Dayton, OH at the National Museum of the US Air Force (NMUSAF). This unique tour stop is home to several artifacts from Colonel Joe Kittinger’s original gondola space missions; including the Stargazer and Project MANHIGH.  Dating back to 1923, NMUSAF is one of the world’s oldest and largest military aviation museums with more than 360 aircrafts and missiles on display.  It also is home to several Presidential aircrafts, including those used by Franklin D. RooseveltHarry Truman, and Dwight D. Eisenhower

Please join us from January 24, 2014 to March 16, 2014 to experience Red Bull Stratos and so much more. For information on the National Museum of the US Air Force, please visit:  http://www.nationalmuseum.af.mil/    or take a virtual tour here: http://www.nmusafvirtualtour.com/full/tour-std.html 

For one night only, The University of Dayton will host The Red Bull Stratos Leadership team in the Chudd Auditorium on January 24, 2014 from 3pm-5pm as they discuss the challenges and successes of this project. More details here: win.gs/Stratos

The lecture will feature:
Art Thompson- Technical Project Director
Jon Clark- Medical Director
Colonel Joe Kittinger- Director of Flight Operations And Safety

The Red Bull Stratos Exhibit will open on same day at the National Museum of the US Air Force (open free to the public daily from 9am-5pm).

Contact @RedBullOHIO for details!

15 Notes

October 14 is the one-year anniversary of Red Bull Stratos! And the experts from the mission team have flown 5,000 miles to Felix Baumgartner’s birthplace of Salzburg to celebrate that memorable day.

Felix is welcoming Joe Kittinger, Art Thompson and Jon Clark – among others – back to his hometown, with special events like a tour of the Red Bull Stratos exhibit at the Hangar-7 aircraft museum and a day-trip to fantastic Alpine destinations. Felix even personally piloted an airborne tour of the region for Joe, Art and Jon in his helicopter. After more than five years of devoting themselves to the challenges of a supersonic dream, these hard-working experts have definitely earned some celebration!

When the jump was successful last October, the mission was still far from over: Felix has been on the road sharing his experiences with people all over, while the other team members have been sharing, too – analyzing the data and presenting the results to aerospace researchers. Even though they’ve had 12 months to reflect on the experience and what it meant to them, this celebration in Salzburg is a rare and wonderful occasion to come together as a group with Felix to look back and discuss their insights and emotions.

Felix and the team were able to relive that historic moment one year ago, and many others from the mission’s five-year development, during a special preview screening of the new documentary “Mission to the Edge of Space: The Inside Story of Red Bull Stratos.” Beginning Oct. 14, the one-year anniversary of the jump, the rest of us can watch this new documentary, too. It features lots of never-before-seen interviews with the team and all the ups and downs of the mission’s preparation and, eventually, success – including Felix’s own POV during freefall. This amazing film is available to watch for free, exclusively on web music service Rdio. Check out rdio.com/redbullstratos.

Congratulations, Felix and team!

3 Notes

The California Science Center was the perfect location for a special meeting of the Red Bull Stratos team on January 23, as they conducted a peer review of all the data they’ve been analyzing since Felix Baumgartner’s supersonic freefall.

Even though the mission’s skydiving consultant Luke Aikins joked that he would be “more comfortable skydiving at night with one arm tied behind my back” than giving a formal presentation, he and the entire team did themselves proud, and the audience of dignitaries – including NASA astronauts, U.S. Air Force officers, and representatives from commercial aerospace companies such as Virgin Galactic, Northrop Grumman, SpaceX, XCOR, Sierra Nevada Corporation and more – were obviously excited to be the first to learn the findings. 

Some of the most anticipated info came from the physiologic monitor Felix wore under his suit. How fast did his spin get? 60 rpm. (Still totally in the safe zone!). Then there were the weather extremes, with temps as low as minus 95 F. The team shared updates to Felix’s history-making stats, too, including the announcement that he went even faster than originally believed, definitely reaching Mach 1.25.

It was a fascinating day and an emotional one, with a long, spontaneous standing ovation for Felix’s mentor Joe Kittinger and a heartfelt moment when technical project director Art Thompson misted up in thanking the mission “family.” Even the mid-afternoon break was memorable as everyone took a moment to visit Space Shuttle Endeavour.

Want to read what the experts learned? Check out a report on the findings and keep your eye on this site for further updates.

7 Notes

Celebrating 2012 and looking ahead to 2013. Red Bull Stratos makes Sports Illustrated’s Picture of the Year. Thank you RBS fans for being a part of our team and loyally following our mission to 128,100 ft. 10-14-12 was a spectacular day! Happy New Year from all of us. Reach for the Stars! 

If you are feeling nostalgic about the mission, here is a link to all the posts from the past year. 

3 Notes

This is where stars, students, and giant balloons meet - some place between the edge of space and terra firma in Roswell, New Mexico. Quest For Stars’ CEO Bobby Russell is leading students on a scientific mission beyond this galaxy. In fact, Bobby and his team eagerly packed their bags and headed to Roswell, NM at about the same time the Red Bull Stratos team prepared for the final manned flight in October. The atmospheric pictures here were captured by the Quest For Stars balloon cam on Stratoshuttle3, the same day Felix Baumgartner made his record jump Oct. 14, 2012. The QFS balloon reached 98,000 ft. That’s pretty close but not quite as high as our top altitude at 128,100 ft. Interestingly, their equipment landed not too far from our capsule recovery team near Roswell. To watch how Quest For Stars followed in Felix’s footsteps, see it here.

To learn more about Quest For Stars’ next big record setting project go here.

3 Notes

Students and teachers at Patrick F. Daly School, 1/2 mile from New York Bay, were in a fight for their lives when Hurricane Sandy made landfall Oct. 29, 2012. After the storm had passed leaving the northeast in devastation, teachers at Patrick F. Daly directed attention to the Red Bull Stratos mission. It was the perfect lesson plan for these kids who had temporarily lost their school.

Michael Silverman with the STEM program (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) describes the aftermath:
"The basement was under twenty-five feet of water. The boiler and electrical systems were completely destroyed, along with all of the replacement furniture for the classrooms. The school was deemed uninhabitable. After a week of determining the damage, students and staff reported to a nearby school, to continue teaching and learning. We accommodated the space by placing entire grades of up to 70 students in a single classroom. As teachers worked with students to cope with the trauma and loss, we gave mini-lessons on the atmosphere, air pressure, and the speed of sound.
Students viewed the website and accompanying videos. It was amazing to watch their reaction. They applauded as Felix took his first step from the capsule and then high-fived one another when he landed safely. They had many questions about the team of scientists and technicians, and wanted to do their own research. Mostly they felt empowered, and from this experience found an underlying message; no matter the odds or goal, obstacles can be overcome and great things can be achieved. It was important for all of us during that moment to be reminded of that. Thank you and congratulations on your amazing accomplishment!”

Notes

Many have asked how it’s possible to use the “bathroom” when you’re locked inside a pressurized space suit. After all, it was crticially important for Felix to remain hydrated on his way up to the stratosphere.

A special diet was in force days ahead of the jump to eliminate the possibility of solid waste. A urine collection device or UCD was worn like a second skin inside the pressure suit. During urination the pressure suit would pressurize ever so slightly. That pressure pushed the liquid waste from the UCD down a tube through transfer connector hardware which extended down to a collection tank under Felix’s seat.

7 Notes

The original “space jumper”, (Ret) Col. Joe Kittinger, boldly took the position as Felix Baumgartner’s mentor and sole capsule communicator during the Red Bull Stratos mission. He was the perfect man for the job considering his experience as a U.S. Air Force test pilot and the first man to touch the dark sky from 102,800 ft. Listen to his experience on the BBC World Service Outlook.

You get a clear sense of Joe’s matter-of-fact approach to life when he talks about his depressurized glove during the 1960 balloon flight: “I knew if I told them they’d make me abort and I didn’t want to abort…I didn’t share my problem with them…it [Joe’s hand] would not explode, the blood would seep out through the skin….the hand swelled up in the glove”.