James Bukowski / Correspondent
In an incredible feat of engineering, Google Senior Vice President Alan Eustace broke the record for highest freefall with a parachute. On Oct. 24, Eustace rose up to 135 thousand feet on a unique helium balloon and dropped, setting another record for top speed in a freefall. The project was orchestrated by Paragon Space Development Corp. to make a commercial space suit capable of allowing people to explore over 20 miles above earth. Reaching a speed of 822 miles per hour (mph). Eustace is the first man to achieve Mach speed without any form of propulsion. Onlookers could see and hear the sonic boom as he broke the sound barrier.
Achieving a feat of this magnitude is only done with the best technology money can buy, and Google certainly does not run dry in that category. In order to avoid a near catastrophe like with Joe Kittinger’s dive. He nearly died because his chute chord wrapped around his neck. With Alan’ mission, a chute was developed that deployed a carbon fiber tube to feed outward and away from Eustace. Also, a drogue chute was necessary to burn speed before the main chute could be deployed, because a normal chute wouldn’t withstand being pulled at Mach 1.
This is significant for the aerospace industry as it is part of the commercialization of space. With many private companies looking to monopolize on the space craze, it’s no surprise that companies are looking to expand the industry and become pioneers. It’s probably safe to say that projects like this are going to be more commonplace in the future.