Innovation & Technology: Red Bull Stratos to Break the Speed of Sound

Austrian extreme athlete Felix Baumgartner is attempting to break the speed of sound by completing a 23-mile free-fall over the New Mexico desert.

The jump is funded by energy drink brand Red Bull, and a special, high-tech pressure suit has been made for the event. The suit will test the material and technological advances in current spacesuit clothing, such as Nomex, which is able to withstand extreme heat and fire, and Gortex, which is moisture resistant.  In addition to the suit, a large helium-inflated balloon has been created (almost 40 acres in size when laid flat on the ground) to take him to the launch spot.

Although scheduled to skydive yesterday, Baumgartner was forced to abandon the descent within the final few minutes due to tumultuous winds.  The jump would have seen Baumgartner free-fall at the record-breaking speed of 690 miles per hour for over 5 minutes.  According to sources, Baumgartner will reattempt the fall if and when weather conditions improve.

See our recent In The Air report, Another Terra, in which we uncover the innovative technology that is shaping the future of space travel and potential colonization.  You can follow Red Bull Stratus live via the @RedBullStratos Twitter page. – Samantha Fox

Know what’s next. Become a WGSN member today to benefit from our daily trend intelligence, retail analytics, consumer insights and bespoke consultancy services.