Hardly anyone knew what Google executive Alan Eustace was planning. Yesterday, he broke the record after falling from a final altitude of nearly 136,000 feet. That broke the skydive record set 2 years ago by Felix Baumgartner, who fell from about 128,000 feet.
Baumgartner’s attempt was a big deal with sponsors and live coverage. We didn’t even know about Eustace’s attempt until it was done.
Eustace was lifted high into the stratosphere with a high-altitude scientific balloon.
As Eustace fell towards Earth, he hit a peak speed of 822 miles per hour – creating a small sonic boom as he breached the speed of sound. Observers on the ground heard the sonic boom, but Eustace said he didn’t feel or hear anything.
Eustace is known for his thrill-seeking, but I don’t think he’ll ever top yesterday’s free-fall.
Paragon Space Development Corp and its Stratospheric Explorer team helped make Friday’s jump possible. Eustace along with Paragon worked for years to develop a self-contained commercial spacesuit that would allow humans to explore Earth’s stratosphere and beyond.
“This has opened up endless possibilities for humans to explore previously seldom visited parts of our stratosphere,” Paragon CEO Grant Anderson said in a statement.
Paragon Space released a short video montage of Alan Eustace’s jump. What an incredible view. Check out Eustace’s not so graceful landing at around 1:10.