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Record-breaking freefall advances space suit technology (video)

James Trew, @itstrew
February 8, 2012
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Jumping to Earth from the edge of space is no mean feat. Not only are you dropping like a stone, there's also the minor issue of your blood boiling as you do so. These are challenges daredevil Felix Baumgartner and the Red Bull Stratos team will be taking head-on -- literally -- with their record-breaking 120,000 foot "spacedive." To ensure Baumgartner lives to claim his honors, the Stratos team is using a custom spacesuit. It's designed by the David Clark Company, which made the first pressurized suits for World War II fighters, and includes a gas-filled bladder and integrated valve to maintain pressure over the various altitudes. While Baumgartner hopes to set new freefall distance, and time (5 minutes 30 seconds) records, there'll also be a lasting contribution to science, with team medical director Dr. Jonathan Clark hoping the developments can lead to advances in space travel and tourism. So in the future when you're opening your pretzels, looking down upon the Earth, raise a complimentary glass to Felix




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