Skydiver’s feat could influence future spacesuit design
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – Now that the dust has settled in the New Mexico desert where supersonic skydiver “Fearless Felix” Baumgartner landed safely on his feet, researchers are exhilarated over the possibility his exploit could someday help save the lives of pilots and space travelers in a disaster.
Baumgartner’s death-defying jump Sunday from a balloon 24 miles above Earth yielded a wealth of information about the punishing effects of extreme speed and altitude on the human body – insights that could inform the development of improved spacesuits, new training procedures and emergency medical treatment.
A NASA engineer who specializes in astronaut escape systems said Baumgartner’s mission “gives us a good foundation” for improving the odds of survival for professional astronauts, space tourists and high-altitude pilots and passengers.
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