Red Bull Stratos reveals Felix Baumgartner Supersonic Freefall data

StratosData analysis from Felix Baumgartner’s supersonic freefall stunt accomplished on the 14th of October 2012 has been revealed by Red Bull Stratos. These science findings captured during an event of a human freefalling from the edge of space will help to educate the masses on future aerospace travel and those who would like to set such records in the future. Data findings show that Felix reached a speed of mach 1.25 when he jumped from a capsule at an altitude of 127,852.4 ft.

Highlights of findings show that with proper training and equipment a human is capable of accelerating through the sound barrier without any trouble. These findings are highly valuable as aerospace organizations can now evaluate safety features for crew and passengers embarking on space travel. During course of preparation, the Red Bull Stratos team developed new technologies and designs for equipment and parachute rig which were used during the attempt. They also devised a new life saving treatment protocol to help counter effects of vacuum.

The parachute rig and space suit designed were constructed using materials and modifications that provided a comfortable and calculated free fall trajectory descent for Felix. A specially designed reefed parachute rig was designed by integrating a drogue stabilizing system and a G meter triggering device to help Felix overcome spinning during the attempt which was watched by thousands all over the world.




We put together the finest scientists from all over the world. We had specialists in aviation, in space, people who knew how to build the capsule, electronic specialists. It really takes the best people in the world for a project like Red Bull Stratos. Otherwise you aren’t going to be successful.

Felix Baumgartner

It was a relief when we completed the mission, as the pressure was really on for five years. We had a lot of ups and downs, and numerous setbacks. But finally we completed Red Bull Stratos successfully.

Felix Baumgartner

The experts who contributed to the mission are extraordinary – the very best of the best in some of the most challenging areas of science, medicine and technology. They safeguarded my life; and in doing so, they broke boundaries in their own fields just as surely as I broke the sound barrier.

Felix Baumgartner

People like our technical project director Art Thompson and the legendary Joe Kittinger were determined that Red Bull Stratos would be a true scientific flight test program, with the results of our work shared for the benefit of the global community. It’s thrilling to know that, after months of analysis, their insights are being released to a world eager for the findings.

Felix Baumgartner


The record with the biggest value is breaking the speed of sound in freefall. It was the most difficult one because it was a first — nobody had ever done it before – which probably makes it most impressive in many ways. It’s inspiring people.

Felix Baumgartner


Joe Kittinger was very important for the project. First of all, he was the only one who had been there and done it, so he provided a lot of valuable information. He is a hell of a character, and after working with Joe all those years, he became like my father.

I have so much respect for Joe Kittinger because back in the 1960s his jump was only his 33rd skydive. I remember when I had 33 skydives – I could barely make it out of an airplane – yet he was standing there on top of the world. No one had ever been there before. At that time, skydivers didn’t have the advantage of the knowledge and technology we have today, and it was also only the beginning of pressure suit development. So when you think of combining all these question marks into one big project, he really deserves a lot of respect. I would never have done the same thing with the relatively small amount of knowledge that they had back in the ‘60s.

Felix Baumgartner


The biggest contribution we made to science is that we proved high-altitude bailout and a safe re-entry is possible and survivable.

Felix Baumgartner

When I jumped from a capsule 24 miles above Earth on October 14, 2012, millions of people across the globe shared the experience live on the Internet and television. Now, after months of analysis, we’re very happy to be able to share another aspect of the adventure with people worldwide: the scientific findings of the Red Bull Stratos team.

Felix Baumgartner


I miss working on Red Bull Stratos. We worked on it for so many years, and it was so challenging. I was breathing this project; and now it’s over, which is kind of sad – but at the same time, I think that as we close one chapter in life, we open up another. I still don’t know what that chapter will hold for me, but I am curious to find out.
Felix Baumgartner


I can think of no greater honor for myself – or for this team – than to know that people informed by our mission will use the data to take aerospace safety to the next level; or to spark children’s interest in science; or simply as inspiration to pursue their own goals. I look forward to seeing what the realization of their dreams holds for all of us.

Felix Baumgartner

Making a supersonic freefall from the edge of space was always my dream. But I never dreamed how many people would share it.

Felix Baumgartner

This event has left a footprint, and many times I hear from people who say that this was their personal moon landing; especially for the younger generation, because they were not born at the time that astronauts landed on the moon. I would not go so far as to compare my jump with the moon landing, but from an emotional standpoint there do seem to be similarities.

Felix Baumgartner

If somebody offered me a trip to space, I would sign that contract in a heartbeat. Why? Because I didn’t have a lot of time when I was standing there on the step of the capsule. I had about 10 seconds to inhale that moment. That was kind of sad, as we had been working hard for so many years. You are finally there: You are on top of the world and you can see the curve of the earth. You look up and the sky is totally black. But you cannot stand there. You want to stand there for about five minutes; but in your mind, you know you’ve only got 10 minutes of oxygen on your back. You have to hurry up. So I feel like it was a great moment, but I want more. If somebody tells me, “Felix, we need you up there,” I am on the way.

Felix Baumgartner


When I stepped off it was just business, because at that point I really wanted to see if a human could break the speed of sound. I couldn’t know exactly what was coming because this is something you cannot really practice. You either go for supersonic speed or you don’t. It feels like you are floating into space, and then you pick up speed very fast – but you don’t feel the air because the air density is so low. You do not have air pressure, but you want that pressure because all of your skydiving skills are based on pressure: using air resistance so you can move yourself in certain directions. For almost 35 seconds I couldn’t sense the air around me because basically there was none. That kind of helpless feeling is annoying as a professional skydiver. And then when you finally enter a thicker air layer you have to keep yourself completely symmetrical because otherwise you start spinning, which is what happened to me.
Felix Baumgartner


The biggest mistake is always if you keep your knowledge for yourself. You have to share knowledge. It was always one of our main priorities: if we gained that knowledge, we intended to share it. We found out a lot of things. Now we know what happens to a human who travels at supersonic speed. We developed a lot of safety equipment, and we all know that in the future there is space tourism on the horizon. Those people will need suits and safety equipment, and that gear may be based on our equipment. We are kind of pioneers.
Felix Baumgartner


There are people out there who are working on breaking the records we set, but I know from experience that it’s not going to be easy! I think the next big target is Mach 2. If somebody freefalls a little bit faster, people won’t really care – it seems like people are always curious about solid numbers. Anyone trying to reach Mach 2 by freefalling from a balloon will run into a lot more problems, because you have to go so much higher and that requires a much bigger balloon. And a much bigger balloon might simply be impossible to launch. It is not the altitude that is the limit; it’s the balloon size. That’s what everybody on the science team agrees, and that’s why I am almost 100 percent sure that in the next 20 or 30 years nobody will beat that record. But if someone makes a serious attempt, I would very much love to be the person who serves as a consultant like Joe Kittinger did for us.
Felix Baumgartner


The world doesn’t have a lot of heroes anymore. When I was young we had people going to the moon. When I was young we also had people like Edmund Hillary, who climbed Mt. Everest. But all those records are taken already, and people don’t seem to be taking on those kinds of challenges anymore. With over 50 years having passed since Joe Kittinger’s jump, Red Bull Stratos was something so new and so exclusive and breathtaking. The quality from the pictures that we brought into people’s homes was so extraordinary – and it was live. This was really important, that it was happening right at that second, while you were watching. People really felt like they were standing right next to me.

I hear from so many parents who were watching and tell me how they felt when they looked at their kids and saw how inspired they were. This is the real reason that people are so attached to this project.

Felix Baumgartner


I will carry on skydiving, but just for fun. I fly helicopters, too – I still love seeing the world from above.

Felix Baumgartner


Another amazing part of Red Bull Stratos was the family, the team we brought together to pull the project off. The defining characteristic of that group was their ability to overcome challenge and overcome setback. They proved time and time again what a passionate group of people can accomplish when – with a real desire to put themselves second and the project first – they focus on a fundamental objective.
Andy Walshe, Red Bull High Performance Director

This project truly redefined how future aerospace and high-altitude missions are going to be documented.

Jay Nemeth, Red Bull Stratos Director of High-Altitude Photography

The Red Bull Stratos program will set a new standard in stratospheric lighter-than-air flights and payload recovery.

Don Day, Red Bull Stratos Meteorologist

Red Bull Stratos was a true accomplishment and it is a part of history.

Art Thompson, Vice President of Sage Cheshire Aerospace, Red Bull Stratos Technical Project Director

Together we proved that a human in freefall can break the speed of sound returning from near space, going through a transonic phase and landing safely on the ground. That was a big part of the program, and monitoring the event was a meaningful step in aerospace medicine and physiology.

Art Thompson, Vice President of Sage Cheshire Aerospace, Red Bull Stratos Technical Project Director

Red Bull Stratos was a singular chance to assemble an elite team across numerous disciplines for an open collaboration to theorize, investigate, problem-solve and share in creating a truly significant program.
Art Thompson, Vice President of Sage Cheshire Aerospace, Red Bull Stratos Technical Project Director

What a large part of the public doesn’t realize is the complexity of what we all accomplished together as a team.
Art Thompson, Vice President of Sage Cheshire Aerospace, Red Bull Stratos Technical Project Director

“This program is already producing tangible results that will allow potential space travelers who are in this danger zone to have a fighting chance if they get exposed to vacuum.

Dr. Jonathan Clark, Red Bull Stratos Medical Director

We’ve developed a clinical practice standard that will be one of the major outcomes of this program. The treatment protocol we developed for the condition of ebullism is going to become the standard of care.

Dr. Jonathan Clark, Red Bull Stratos Medical Director

I can see the excitement and enthusiasm from the commercial space, the Department of Defense, NASA and the Federal Aviation Administration and everybody came away saying, ‘Wow, the Red Bull Stratos program really accomplished a lot.”

Dr. Jonathan Clark, Red Bull Stratos Medical Director

It is more than just taking a guy in a balloon to altitude. It’s about inspiration. It’s about the next generation. It’s about how to inspire people to not be afraid to go the next step.

Art Thompson, Vice President of Sage Cheshire Aerospace, Red Bull Stratos Technical Project Director

This is inspiration to be passed on to the next generation. I cannot tell you how excited I get when I am around kids in high school, and other kids, who now want to do science and engineering because Red Bull Stratos makes science cool.

Dr. Jonathan Clark, Red Bull Stratos Medical Director

When I jumped in 1960, I went up to do research on pressure suits and going into space; Felix did the same thing. Felix and the team have made a scientific contribution with this jump from a place where no one had ever jumped from before. My mission proved that a pressure suit provides adequate protection in near space. By proving that a human being can survive accelerating through the sound barrier in freefall, Felix has demonstrated that we can provide the means of escape for a human from extreme altitude.

Col. Joe Kittinger

We definitely needed our suit in freefall position – that being legs straight, slightly cocked at the knees and arms all the way down by the hips – because Felix needed to try to get to a streamlined position. The shoulders in his suit are articulated enough that you can actually raise your arms up and put them in a normal freefall position. Felix could have gone to the moon in that suit, but yet he was also able to fall in that head-down position and be comfortable inside the suit.

Mike Todd of Sage Cheshire Aerospace, Red Bull Stratos Life Support Engineer

What the mission showed was that it’s possible to survive a bailout from that kind of a condition: an ejection from an airplane at the edge of space. We are developing airplanes that would fly that high; the industry is already talking about airliners that’ll fly at 90,000 feet, and NASA has a number of projects that are looking at hypersonic flight at altitudes like that. So Red Bull Stratos could make a contribution to those kinds of projects.

Dr. Marle Hewett, Program Manager/Senior Flight Test Engineer


The way the world was able to take part in it…it’s really been a moon landing for our generation. The way everybody was able to watch it live and really take part in it and experience the tension and the excitement and the anxiety. I think it’s really going to go down as a great moment in history. It’s really going to be that next great step for future explorers.
Dr. Shane Jacobs, Design Manager, David Clark Company

As suit designers, it was great to see the analysis and what Felix actually went through. We are hopefully going to be able to leverage that data and apply it to future suit designs.

Dr. Shane Jacobs, Design Manager, David Clark Company

The legacy of Red Bull Stratos … I’ll speak for Air Force, NASA…it’s a perfect opportunity to show flight tests and development in an age where flight tests and development are diminishing…the legacy is to say ‘Why stop? Look what we just did.’

It’s another springboard maybe to reinvigorate, reenergize, science and technology and exploration and even better innovation.

Col. Don White, USAF (Ret.)

I had no idea of the extent of the preparation and all of the technology from all these different areas that has gone into this; the advanced technology and the improvements that have been made on Felix’s pressure suit compared with the ones we had.

Bill Weaver, Professional Aviator and legendary test pilot

The suit that Felix has been using for the jumps — the technology has been advanced so far. They really can build on this even more, and we think it’s going to be of great value to progress and advancement not only in normal space flight, but space passengers going up in the not too distant future.

Bill Weaver, Professional Aviator

The next-generation pressure suit is something we’re actively working on at David Clark Company, and we’re looking at a variety of different missions and different suits that might fit those missions – whether it’s going back to the moon or Mars. So this mission was a real opportunity to prove out and validate our equipment and get some more data that we can feed into that next generation of pressure suit design.

Dr. Shane Jacobs, Design Manager, David Clark Company

What’s really different about this suit is the fact that we designed it so that you can be standing up while pressurized. I’ve been doing this since 1982 – never have I been in a pressure suit inflated standing up.

Dan McCarter, Program Manager, R&D, David Clark Company

Now we have final numbers, and they look very good. The jump altitude came down just a little bit from 128,100 to 127,852 feet, and the reason for that is that the capsule was slowly descending as Felix was starting to jump. That is within an eyelash of the original number. The speed was actually improved. We estimated that he did 833 mph, he did 844 mph, which is 1.25 mach. An absolutely unbelievable number. I told Joe his altitude of 102,800 feet was improved by 24 percent. In the record business it is enormous to see a record that is beaten by 24 percent, a quantum leap. We are usually dealing with very, very small improvements from one generation of records to the next, so this is highly unusual. It takes lots of effort, lots of focus, lots of determination; but, of course, it was done.

Brian Utley, Official Observer for the Contest and Records Board of the NAA

It is this opportunity for exchange and discussion among the whole group that I find so refreshing, and it’s something we’ll take with us to last us a lifetime.

Brian Utley, Official Observer for the Contest and Records Board of the NAA, referring to the Red Bull Stratos Scientific Summit

Nearly 119,500 feet of freefall. The old official record that goes back to when the Russians set it was 83,000 feet. So, this is an incredible step.

Brian Utley, Official Observer for the Contest and Records Board of the NAA