The MAD Scientist Network: Engineering

Subject: Parachute freefall to Earth from 200-300 miles up.

Date: Wed Dec 6 01:14:18 2000
Posted by David
Grade level: nonaligned School: No school entered.
City: Memphis State/Province: TN Country: USA
Area of science: Engineering
ID: 976083258.Eg

In 1960, Joe Kittinger piloted the Excelsior III to an altitude of 102,800 
feet, setting a world record for the highest balloon ascent, and set 
another world record for the longest parachute freefall; four minutes and 
thirty-six seconds before his main parachute opened at 12,000 feet. During 
his decent he reached speeds of up to 714 miles per hour, exceeding the 
speed of sound without an aircraft or space vehicle, which was yet another 
world record.

My question is, can a human wearing a spacesuit, let's say hopping out of 
the shuttle with some method of a self-contained rocket pack to slow the 
forward velocity (losing orbital velocity) and reenter the atmosphere using 
stabilization methods similar Kittinger's, or new ones, and survive? I've 
read that the Excelsior III jump established that it was possible to put a 
man into space and that fliers could leave their craft at extraordinary 
altitudes and freefall back into the Earth’s atmosphere. How come no one 
has tried this from 200 or 300 miles up?

Re: Parachute freefall to Earth from 200-300 miles up.

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