Jumping for science
While the dive will certainly offer an adrenaline rush and major bragging rights, Baumgartner says he's jumping for science, too.
The team will study Baumgartner's physical condition and the effects of such a dive on the human body in an effort to better understand how people can survive in space. [Photos: Training for Red Bull's Supersonic Space Jump]
"This mission is all about pioneer work," Baumgartner said in a statement released Tuesday (Feb. 7). "Maybe one day people will look back and say it was Felix Baumgartner and the Red Bull Stratos team that helped to develop the suit that they're wearing in space. We want to do something for posterity."
The Red Bull Stratos team also includes aerospace engineers who are custom-designing cutting-edge technology for the jump.
"We'll be setting new standards for aviation," said Red Bull Stratos medical director Jonathan Clark, a former space shuttle crew surgeon. "Never before has anyone gone supersonic without being in an aircraft. Red Bull Stratos is testing new equipment and developing the procedures for inhabiting such high altitudes as well as enduring such extreme acceleration. The aim is to improve the safety for space professionals as well as potential space tourists."
To make the dive, Baumgartner will ascend higher than four times the height of Mount Everest inside a custom-made pressurized capsule pulled up by a single helium-filled plastic balloon about 600 feet (182 meters) wide.