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I Hate When That Happens

It's a pretty common occurrence for a little kid to be disappointed when he loses his grip on his balloon, but this is in a different class entirely:

The former paratrooper had hoped his "Big Jump" -- starting 40 kilometers (25 miles) above the Earth's surface -- would set new records for the highest jump, fastest and longest free fall and the highest altitude reached by a man in a balloon.

But those hopes drifted away over the plains of Saskatchewan in Canada when the balloon escaped.

I think he should give up on the balloon thing, and just wait for a rocket ride.


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Alfred Differ wrote:

Even the little ones are a pain to hold on to if a breeze comes up. It's hard even without a breeze. We are built to lift weights, not pull them back down out of the sky.

There are basic techniques for tethering balloons during a fill process. Someone wasn't thinking ahead.

Karl Hallowell wrote:

I don't think that's fair. Balloons are notoriously difficult to get off the ground (all that surface area, you know). But they are cheaper than a manned rocket, currently available, and give you a more relaxed ride. Still if you want to skydive from altitudes much past 40 kilometers, you need rockets or something similar.

Ray wrote:

What if he had spent that $20M on actually helping make the rocket rides happen?

Raoul Ortega wrote:

This is what happens when you hire a ground crew who used to work Pink Floyd concerts.

Edward Wright wrote:

$20 million program cost, $1 million for Tuesday's attempt -- balloons might be currently available but if those figures are accurate, it's uncertain whether they are "cheaper than a manned rocket."

As an existence proof, Burt spent $25 million to build SpaceShip One and the marginal cost per flight was certainly well under $1 million.

The numbers are in the same ballpark, at least.

Mark wrote:

If I were him I'd just be happy it didn't happen at 1,000 feet.

K wrote:

This is what "rugged individualists" used to do. Go out, find a record to break and do it. I applaud this guy and hope that it indicates a resurgence of individualism in Europe. Like a beginnings, however, there's always a few bumps along the way.

lmg wrote:

The article mentions you can see the "blackness of space and the curve of the earth" from 130,000 feet. That's 2/3 of the attraction of a suborbital flight. I wonder if an airship (blimp, zeppelin) could be made to reach that height with a decent sized cabin and two dozen passengers. There might be a market for leisurely but visually spectacular rides across continents or oceans.

Jon Card wrote:

I was talking to Jeff Feige at the Space Investment Summit #4 yesterday and couldn't remember where I'd heard of Orbital Outfitters. I'm really excited to try Space Diving, you have no idea.

Jon Card wrote:

Excuse me; my email was wrong on the last comment.

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Rand Simberg published on May 27, 2008 10:46 AM.

So What's With Rocketplane? was the previous entry in this blog.

It's Nothing New is the next entry in this blog.

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