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Google Executive Sets World Record For The Highest Altitude Free Fall Jump

October 25, 2014 - On Friday, Google executive, Alan Eustace, 57, sets world record for the highest altitude free fall jump. Eustace had separated from his balloon, at the earth's stratosphere, the second major layer of Earth's atmosphere at 135,908 feet just a little more than 25 miles from the earths surface.

Eustace has now beats Red Bull's Felix Baumgartner's world record which was set back in October 2012, in which Baumgartner jumped record was 119,431 feet (24 miles) which was at that time the most ambitious skydive jump ever attempted.

Eustace's stratosphere balloon was filled with 35,000 cubic feet of helium and at 7 AM (MDT) it was launched from an abandoned runway in Roswell, New Mexico. As the balloon ascended from earth, Eustace dangled from a cord (there was no basket). It took the balloon, two hours to reach the earth's stratosphere, climbing at 1,600 feet per minute.


Upon reaching his drop-off attitude, Eustace set off an a small explosive device which allowed him to separate from the balloon's support cord. Eustace said “It was amazing. It was beautiful. You could see the darkness of space and you could see the layers of atmosphere, which I had never seen before.” 

It took Eustace 15 minutes to return back to earth, reaching a record vertical speed of 821.45 miles per hour (Mach 1.23) exceeding the speed of sound (767 MPH) setting off a small sonic boom that could be heard by people on the ground. 

At 12,476 feet, Eustace deployed his parachute and in 4 minutes and 27 seconds he had mad his touchdown at 9:09 AM (MDT). His total freefall distance, the time from separation from the balloon to deployment of his parachute was 123,414 feet setting a new Federation Aeronautique Internationale "The World Air Sports Federation" (FAI) world record.



Eustace reached a reported maximum altitude of 135,908 feet but the final number submitted to the FAI was 135,889.108 ft. The United States Parachute Association (USPA) verified the record and James Hayhurst, director of USPA said “I think they’re putting a little lookout tower at the edge of space that the common man can share.” 

Eustace is Senior Vice President of Knowledge at Google. In 2011, Eustace decided he wanted to pursue a stratosphere jump. He met with Taber MacCallum, owner of Paragon Space Development Corporation and together they developed a pressurized  space suite that allowed him to breathe pure oxygen during his ascent and decent to earth, they also designed many of the components of his parachute and life-support systems. The cost of the project was far less than the millions of dollars spent by Baumgartner.
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