ROSWELL, N.M., Oct. 14, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- As Felix Baumgartner broke the world record for a free fall jump from higher than 120,000 feet today, Sunday, October 14 in space — becoming the first person to free fall while breaking the sound barrier — the National Geographic Channel and BBC detailed every second with more than 20 cameras. The footage will be combined with exclusive behind-the-scenes access following Baumgartner's four-year metamorphosis from an elite BASE jumper to an extreme altitude specialist who can think and act like an astronaut. Space Dive will premiere on the National Geographic Channel this November. For a comprehensive wrap-up on this historic space dive, as well as the upcoming NGC special, go to http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2012/10/121014-felix-baumgartner-skydive-sound-barrier-kittinger-roswell-science-2/.
Four years in the making, Space Dive allows viewers to witness a mission fraught with epic challenges as a team of leading experts in medicine, science and engineering push the boundaries of science to design and to build the equipment needed to get Baumgartner to the edge of space and back safely. The Red Bull Stratos mission served to further the progress of aerospace safety, including the development of a new generation of space suits and parachute systems, the development of protocols for exposure to high altitude, and supersonic acceleration and deceleration. Setting records for the highest balloon ascent, highest parachute jump, and fastest speed by a human through the atmosphere, Baumgartner's epic journey ended with him raising the flag of the National Geographic Society.
"Felix is an explorer in the truest sense of the word, and National Geographic Channel was honored to be a part of this mission," said Michael Cascio, EVP of Programming for the National Geographic Channel. "And while the project itself is obviously groundbreaking, our exclusive inside access adds unique insight and perspective into this four-year journey, and is sure to thrill our viewers."
In August 1960, Colonel Joe Kittinger took one of mankind's first steps towards space exploration. Leaping from 102,800 feet, Kittinger fell for 4 minutes and 36 seconds, reaching a speed of 614 mph, setting records for the highest balloon ascent, highest parachute jump and fastest speed by a human through the atmosphere. Kittinger, now 83, was one of many experts who trained Baumgartner to overcome the many challenges required and to break the records he set as a young test pilot for the benefit of the aerospace community.
The near vacuum of the stratosphere and the perils of travelling faster than the speed of sound make Baumgartner's space dive all the more audacious. Since Kittinger's record-setting jump in 1960, two men have died in similar attempts. NGC cameras on the ground in cooperation with the prototype high-altitude and ground-based tracking cameras developed by the Red Bull Media House were there to capture all of the physical and aptitude training that Baumgartner undertook, as well as his test jumps from 71,522 feet and 96,637 feet. While wrestling with a dangerous claustrophobic reaction to his pressure suit that could have jeopardized the mission and ultimately cost him his life, Baumgartner had to endure countless and often times discouraging operational tests in the pressurized suit.
With breathtaking footage of the jump itself, viewers will be able to share in Felix's experience every step of the way: launching from the New Mexico desert; climbing 24 miles in a space capsule suspended below a 55-story helium balloon; stepping out at 128,100 feet to see the curvature of the earth; and finally free-falling through the stratosphere at over 700 mph, exceeding the speed of sound with his own body.
Space Dive is a co-production between the BBC, Red Bull Media House and National Geographic Channel. For BBC, Gary Hunter is the executive producer. For National Geographic Channel, Richard J. Wells is the Executive Producer, Charlie Parsons, the Vice President in Charge of Production/Development; the Executive in Charge of Production is Michael Cascio.
National Geographic Channels
Based at the National Geographic Society headquarters in Washington, D.C., the National Geographic Channels US are a joint venture between National Geographic and Fox Cable Networks. The Channels contribute to the National Geographic Society's commitment to exploration, conservation and education with smart, innovative programming and profits that directly support its mission. Launched in January 2001, National Geographic Channel (NGC) celebrated its fifth anniversary with the debut of NGC HD. In 2010, the wildlife and natural history cable channel Nat Geo WILD was launched, and in 2011, the Spanish-language network Nat Geo Mundo was unveiled. The Channels have carriage with all of the nation's major cable, telco and satellite television providers, with NGC currently available in 84 million U.S. homes. Globally, National Geographic Channel is available in 440 million homes in 171 countries and 38 languages. For more information, visit www.natgeotv.com.
About Red Bull Stratos
Red Bull Stratos, created by Red Bull and Felix Baumgartner, is a mission to the edge of space that will try to surpass human limits that have existed for more than 50 years. Supported by a team of experts, Felix Baumgartner will undertake a stratospheric balloon flight to more than 120,000 feet / 36,576 meters and make a history-making freefall jump in the attempt to become the first man to break the speed of sound in freefall (an estimated 690 miles / 1,110 kilometers per hour), while delivering valuable data for medical and scientific advancement.
SOURCE National Geographic Channels