The supersonic jump was a result of a project by the Paragon Space Development Corp. and its Stratospheric Explorer team, which has been developing a commercial spacesuit that allows a leap of faith from over 20 years above the surface of the Earth. The project had until Friday been shrouded in secrecy and the company was quite pleased with themselves and Eustace following his jump.
“This has opened up endless possibilities for humans to explore previously seldom visited parts of our stratosphere,” Grant Anderson, Paragon president and CEO, said in a statement.
Tech for World View Enterprises
The company has been doing its part to make commercial spaceflight a reality by developing a spacesuit, balloon and additional systems that will be utilized by World View Enterprises when the Arizona-based company begins offering tourists the opportunity to go up into “space” in a luxury capsule and high-altitude around Christmas time 2016.
This was not something that Eustace did on a whim, rather he had been in training for some time and Paragon had been planning the trip for the last three years. At dawn on Friday, the Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) (NASDAQ:GOOG) exec began is assent via helium-filled balloon, after over two hours he had reached an altitude of 135,890 before disconnecting and making the return trip at considerably greater speed. His freefall of 4.5 minutes saw him reach a top-speed of 822 mph or Mach 1.23.
Google executive’s historic space jump
According to Jim Hayhurst, director of competition at the United States Parachute Association, who observed the jump, said that he and others were able to hear the sonic boom when Eustace broke the sound barrier though Eustace apparently didn’t.
“He just said it was a fabulous view. He was thrilled,” Hayhurst said in reference to a conversation the two had following the landing.
When Eustace jumped he was about 7,000 feet higher than Felix Baumgartner who jumped from 128,100 feet in 2012 in a project with the Redd Bull Stratos team.
“This was a bunch of quiet engineers doing the job,” said Hayhurst about the record-breaking jump. “This is a scientific endeavor. This is a stepping stone to space.”