Faster than the initial estimates, though the final jump height was lower
A few months ago, Felix Baumgartner made history jumping from the edge of space and becoming supersonic during the fall. He broke several records in the processes, the highest ever jump, the fastest freefall and so on. Until now though, those records haven't been official.The Red Bull Stratos team has now presented its peer reviewed findings and the official numbers. The latest numbers show that Felix jumped from a smaller height than originally believed, but he went faster than initial estimates.
The latest official data shows a height of 38,969.4 m / 127,852.4 ft compared to the initial 39,045 m/ 128,100 feet.
However, his speed peaked at 1,357.6 kmh / 843.6 mph, compared to initial numbers of 1,342.8 kmh/ 833.9 mph. That's 1.25 Mach, at the height the speed was attained, compared to the initial 1.24 Mach.
While Felix landed safely after his jump, there was some tension early in the jump when he entered an uncontrollable spin. The data shows that he hit around 60 rotations per minute, one per second, fast, but well within the safe limit.
He recovered and completed the jump without any other problems. However, there was a danger that the spin would prove too much and that he would lose consciousness.
The jump, while sponsored by Red Bull and highly publicized, also had a scientific side. The team wanted to test new materials and technologies for the suit as well as the parachutes. In fact, Felix's suit is more advanced than anything Shuttle astronauts had.
The idea is that more research on high altitude jumps could prove extremely valuable in cases where astronauts would be required to leave their vehicle from that high up.
However, if Felix, with 2,500 jumps under his belt and plenty of experience with both high-altitude jumps and extreme conditions, was barely able to keep it all under control, it's unlikely that a regular astronaut would be able to pull it off.