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Thread: Skydiving from the upper atmosphere: aeronomy questions

  1. #1 Skydiving from the upper atmosphere: aeronomy questions 
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    Hi,
    I'm a writer with an idea for a book about skydiving from Earth's upper atmosphere. What I'm looking for is 1) from what height/what part in the atmosphere could people feasibly skydive from without vehicle assistance for the trip back to earth, of course. and 2) what problems (upper atmospheric lightning, etc,) would one have to overcome to do this?

    Also, i'm looking for some info on earth's atmosphere: at what point is one considered to be in space? I understand this is a bit of a grey-area but I'm looking for heights and reasons why such and such a height should be considered "in space" and outside of earth's atmosphere.

    Any takers?


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  3. #2  
    Veracity Vigilante inow's Avatar
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    Google suggests the current record is a jump of about 20 miles. It was in 1960 by Capt. Joseph Kittenger, who was in freefall for nearly five minutes.

    More here:

    http://www.fabulousrocketeers.com/Photo_See_Ya.htm


    As for the boundary between earth and space, it's called the Karman line, and is about 62 miles up. Interestingly, anyone going more than 50 miles above see level is technically considered an astronaut.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/K%C3%A1rm%C3%A1n_line


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  4. #3  
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    Thanks,
    I am already doing research on Kittinger, and several plans for similar jumps that have so far not been able to take place.
    However, I am wondering if I could have my skydivers dive from even higher up then kittinger did, which was just over 102 thousand feet up.
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    Veracity Vigilante inow's Avatar
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    What have you discovered in your research about why nobody has broken that record yet? What's stopping them?
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    Well, one has been plagued by bad weather, and the other got slapped with a lawsuit. Check out redbullstratos.com for the red bull funded project (they got hit with a lawsuit), and this frenchman who has just been hitting setbacks with weather: http://www.legrandsaut.org/

    Odd though, isn't it, that that record has been there for so long.
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  7. #6  
    Veracity Vigilante inow's Avatar
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    Absolutely. It is hard. The challenges are incredibly similar to those faced by space walkers (astronauts who leave the safety of the shuttle for things like repairs on hubble).
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    Well, as I continue to do research, I think I want my skydivers to go at least 120 km up, which is high enough to pass through things like the aurora borealis and red sprites, sprite halos, blue jets and elves. I figure throwing some of those events in would make description of a dive just spectacular. I guess I'm wondering what someone would need to pass through these sorts of events - pressurized suit, mega sunglasses, personal temperature regulating unit, pure oxygen to fight off the bends, and guts. Anything I'm missing?

    I'm also wondering how long a drop from 120 km up would take. I guess a little longer than kittinger's? He fell for four minutes and 36 seconds before pulling his shoot at 18000 feet. But, I want my divers to pull their special suits at something like 250 feet up.
    At that point does the earth's gravity become less strong?
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  9. #8  
    Geo
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    Your blood boils at 60,000ft.

    120km, about 10mins fall. 250F temp range. Three spare underwear needed.
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