The record for highest parachute jump in the history held by Felix Baumgartner has been broken by Google’s most senior executive, Alan Eustace, who is 57 years old and the senior VP of Knowledge at Google. He was lifted into the air through a balloon filled with 35,000 cubic ft. of helium. The takeoff took place at an abandoned runway located at an airport in New Mexico.
Mr. Alan, the computer scientist, gained speed and was able to go past the speed of sound as well. He touched ground again after 15 minutes from the time when his fall started. He shared his experience saying, “It was amazing. It was beautiful. You could see the darkness of space and you could see the layers of atmosphere, which I had never seen before.”
He managed to release himself from the balloon with the help of a tiny explosive device afterwards, reaching a speed of more than 800Mph and even managed to set off a sonic boom that was registered by observers from the ground. He said, “It was a wild, wild ride. I hugged on to the equipment module and tucked my legs and I held my heading.”
It wasn’t just the record of the highest parachute jump that Eustace managed to break. He, in fact, broke a variety of records such as highest exit altitude, world and national record for free fall under a drogue chute and the national record for vertical speed. Besides, Eustace become the second person to break the sound barrier without being in an aircraft.
The firm that developed the systems, Pagagon, stated, “Today, after 34 months of intense planning, development and training, Alan Eustace, supported by Paragon Space Development Corporation and its Stratospheric Explorer (StratEx) team, made history with a near-space dive from a high-altitude balloon at approximately 135,000 feet.”
Eustace was wearing a custom-made spacesuit that was pressurized. When he reached a height more than 135,000 feet, he started his dive and remained in free-fall for a time span worth 4.5 minutes before he landed 70 miles away from the launch point safely.
“I always wondered: what if you could design a system that would allow humans to explore the stratosphere as easily and safely as they do the ocean? With the help of the world-class StratEx team, I hope we’ve encouraged others to explore this part of the world about which we still know so little,” shared Eustace.
Grant Anderson, President, CEO and co-founder of Paragon, said, “The experience and dedication of the StratEx team was crucial to the program’s success. Together, Alan and the team today extended human spaceflight to the stratosphere in an important step to solidify the safety of future human endeavors. It is an honor to work with such an incredibly talented and accomplished group. This has opened up endless possibilities for humans to explore previously seldom visited parts of our stratosphere.”