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2006-07-17
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Ultimate Base Jumper

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Frenchman Michel Fournier is on the verge of breaking all records for freefall. Previous records are held by Joseph Kittinger of the United States Air Force. After years of experiments, Kittinger set the altitude record in 1960 which still stands today at 102,800 feet. During the fall, he nearly broke the speed of sound at 614 mph without the protection of a vehicle. Fournier, at 62 years, intends to break four records:

  • freefall altitude
  • human balloon flight altitude
  • time for longest freefall
  • freefall speed record

Unlike Kittinger, Fournier will not use a stabilizing parachute. He intends to break the sound barrier in freefall, relying on a space-age suit to allow him to maintain control and maneuver in the thin atmosphere. Aside from the thrill of jumping from 130,000 feet (just short of 25 miles), he hopes to contribute to research on potential emergency procedures for astronauts.



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