Welcome to 2012, to a world where high-flying energy-drink maker Red Bull has a space program. Advised by none other than man's man -- and astronaut's astronaut -- Joseph Kittinger, they'll be sending a man plummeting to earth from the edge of space, bare-nekkid but for his heated longjohns, a pressure suit and a parachute. It's a bit thin if you're going to break the sound barrier along the way -- which he will.
Holy Yuri Gagarin! (Whose own mission was more exciting than was admitted to at the time.)
Ballooning up as far as possible and then stepping out for a quick drop home sounds modest compared to Branson/Rutan tourist flights, Blue Origin's SSTO or Elon Musk's practical rocketry, but in terms of manned presence it's a big step, one previously undertaken only by entities with names like "USAF" or "USSR."
I wish them every success -- and wonder what'll happen if they stumble onto the Hidden Frontier? (Where there is finally a smidgen of new content.)
4 weeks ago