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Parachute

Felix after a test jump in California

Felix's parachute system includes revolutionary safety technology.

This one-of-a-kind rig has key features you won't find in any other parachute system.

Prior to this mission, no personal parachute system had ever been used for a supersonic freefall from the edge of space. Years of development and testing resulted in revolutionary drogue technology, which would have stabilized Felix Baumgartner had it been necessary during his freefall.

HARNESS AND CONTAINER

  • The container houses the drogue stabilization chute and the two landing parachutes (main and reserve), while the harness attaches the entire rig to Felix Baumgartner and holds two oxygen bottles, which can supply at least 10 minutes of oxygen at altitude.
  • On the front of the harness there are four handles:

Right Chest Level (red): Deploys main chute; simultaneously cuts away drogue

Right Hip Level (yellow): Cuts away main chute so reserve can deploy without tangling

Left Chest Level (red): Deploys reserve chute; simultaneously cuts away drogue  

Left Hip Level (yellow): Cuts away reserve in case of accidental deployment

DROGUE STABILIZATION CHUTE AND G METER

  • The drogue stabilization chute and G meter offer breakthrough skydiving technology. This is the first personal drogue equipment ever designed for supersonic deployment, and it's the first ever designed to function completely independently of the main and reserve parachutes.
  • If Felix had become unstable, he would have used the drogue chute to keep from spinning uncontrollably. A G-meter would have opened the drogue stabilization chute automatically if Felix experienced 3.5 Gs or more for a continuous period of 6 seconds.
  • A drogue deployment button was strategically placed in Felix's glove. Holding down this button for three seconds would have fired the drogue stabilization chute.

PARACHUTES

  • The main parachute is the only parachute in his rig that was deployed. This nine-cell, ram-air, 270-square-foot/25-square-meter canopy does not open automatically. Felix pulls the handle to deploy it at 5,000 feet/1,524 meters.
  • Felix's main and reserve (emergency) parachutes are rated to be opened at 150 knots, which means he had to slow to about 172 mph / 277km/h for safe deployment.
  • Felix could have deployed his reserve parachute manually, but the system included CYPRES (Cybernetic Parachute Release System) technology to deploy the reserve automatically if exceeding a vertical speed of 35 meters (115 feet) per second at a predetermined altitude (around 2,000 feet / 610 meters).

QUICK FACTS

  • The combined parachute system components - Felix's overall rig - weigh about 60 lbs./27 kg. In comparison, a typical skydiving rig weighs about 20 lbs./9 kg., and a BASE jumping rig weighs 10 to 12 lbs./4 to 5 kg.
  • Packing the reserve parachute takes about an hour, while packing the main parachute and drogue stabilization chute requires about 20 minutes each.
  • Normal skydiving rigs don't have a mechanism to cut away the reserve parachute, a skydiver's last resource in an emergency. If Felix's reserve chute inadvertently deployed at high altitude, his landing would have been delayed so much that he'd run out of oxygen. In that unlikely situation, Felix would have used a handle to cut away the reserve parachute and return to freefall, finally pulling his main parachute once he reaching a "normal" altitude.
  • Up until this point, no parachute was guaranteed for jumps higher than 25,000 feet/7,620 meters. Felix jumped from approximately 128,100 feet and everything worked as planned.
  • Drogues are typically attached from the middle of the skydiver's back, but Felix's drogue stabilization chute hangs from his shoulders to help reduce the potential for dangerous spinning.

The initial concept for the Red Bull Stratos personal parachute system was developed and design process spearheaded by skydiving consultant Luke Aikins, in collaboration with Felix and the mission's science team including expert consultants from Sage Cheshire Aerospace. Luke took his ideas to Kelly Farrington, founder of Velocity Sports Equipment. Kelly refined Luke's design and worked with the Red Bull Stratos team to fine-tune and manufacture the harness and container system and drogue. Meanwhile, Precision Aerodynamics supplied the main parachute and reserve parachute. The CYPRES automatic release system was provided by AIRTEC and the altimeter by Larsen and Brusgaard.

About Velocity Sports Equipment

Velocity Sports Equipment opened in 1998 to cater to a new breed of skydiver. Its founder, Kelly Farrington, grew up dreaming of solutions to extreme but mostly hypothetical jumps. The Red Bull Stratos mission provides a very real opportunity for him to showcase his company's unique design talents and creativity. Velocity Sports Equipment has built a specialized parachute harness system, incorporating a unique drogue system for complete stability that is unlike current sport and military tandem systems. In an emergency, there is no need to pull the ripcord to deploy the parachute; it's automatic. For more information: www.velocityrigs.com

About AIRTEC

A serious investment into research and development, combined with high-quality practices, has made AIRTEC the technological leader in the field of Automatic Activation Devices. AIRTEC's innovative expertise and precise manufacturing has produced CYPRES (Cybernetic Parachute Release System), a technology that affords the Red Bull Stratos team the highest levels of safety and reliability to achieve its goals.

About Larsen and Brusgaard

Larsen and Brusgaard is the preferred supplier of visual wrist mounted altimeters for the Red Bull Stratos project. The cutting edge technology and design used in L&B's altimeter, Altitrack, allows for secure use in harsh environments and trying conditions and the continuous R&D gives the Red Bull Stratos team the latest in altitude awareness. L&B is proud to support this mission with Altitracks for pilot Felix Baumgartner and skydiving consultant Luke Aikins.