pacomartin
pacomartin
Joined: Jan 14, 2010
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October 15th, 2012 at 1:17:50 PM permalink
I wonder if this High Altitude Skydive will affect interest in the recreational skydiving business. For those of you familiar with scuba diving, dives of depth of 60' are readily available to anyone who takes a resort course. Recreational dives to depths of 125' are available to anyone who takes a certification course, but most commercial operations don't go in water deeper than 100' so they are "legally safe". Dives of up to 175' are the limits for commercial divers. Diving to deeper depths are super expensive because the federal government requires an onboard decompression chamber. This is so expensive that most commercial operations prefer remotely operated vehicles.

The standard limits for skydiving are:
8,000' 10 miles visibility is standard first jump or tandem jump
13,000' 13 miles visibility commercial "legally safe" recreational skydives
15,000' 14 miles visibility height limit without oxygen - U.S. Parachute Association
20,000' 16 miles visibility height limit with oxygen on plane- U.S. Parachute Association
40,000' 23 miles visibility height limit with oxygen on on skydive & pressure suit - U.S. Parachute Association
- no firm guidelines above 40,000': Clearly plane limits are a factor.
128,000' 41 miles visibility Felix Baumgartner

The reward for scuba diving to deeper depths is usually the chance to explore wrecks. In 60' of water, most wrecks are salvaged as they can be a hazard to navigation.

The reward for skydiving from higher than normal altitude is minimal IMHO. The range of visibility is not increased by that much, but you get the thrill of a longer freefall. Generally it's cheaper to get more freefall time by jumping repeatedly. Night skydiving offers a much more visually exciting change of pace.

Given the cost do you think Felix Baumgartner's jump will increase interest in high altitude skydiving?
Nareed
Nareed
Joined: Nov 11, 2009
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October 15th, 2012 at 1:28:04 PM permalink
Quote: pacomartin

The reward for skydiving from higher than normal altitude is minimal IMHO.



Sure. Standing halfway to the top of the atmosphere and achieving Mach 1+ without a vehicle are rather minimal, mundane kinds of things. I can see that.
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EvenBob
EvenBob
Joined: Jul 18, 2010
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October 15th, 2012 at 1:32:26 PM permalink
Quote: pacomartin



The reward for skydiving from higher than normal altitude is minimal IMHO.



In this case they learned an astronaut can bail
out at 25 miles up and live. That info alone was
worth it, they say.
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DJTeddyBear
DJTeddyBear 
Joined: Nov 2, 2009
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October 15th, 2012 at 1:41:34 PM permalink
Quote: EvenBob

In this case they learned an astronaut can bail
out at 25 miles up and live. That info alone was
worth it, they say.


I question that conclusion.

Felix jumped from a baloon which was, more-or-less, stationary.

An astronaut would be bailing out of a vehicle traveling at a high velocity and would have re-entry problems that Felix didn't have to worry about.
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Nareed
Nareed
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October 15th, 2012 at 1:56:16 PM permalink
Quote: DJTeddyBear

An astronaut would be bailing out of a vehicle traveling at a high velocity and would have re-entry problems that Felix didn't have to worry about.



Mercury, Apollo and, I think, all the Russian capsules, employed a rocket mounted on the nose which would have pulled the capsule to safety in the event of a major malfunction between launch and the first stage separation. Gemini capsules had ejection seats. These systems were never used in American craft. I don't think they have ever used by Russian craft either.

After the first stage was dropped, the capsule could be ejected by other means and would supposedly land using parachutes. Again, this has never taken place.

The Shuttle had a procedure to evacuate from the launch pad, but nothing else. It's ahrd to see what kinf of launch pad incident, prior to launch, would requrie evacuation yet not be a total disaster.

After Challenger, a system was installed involving a pole sliding out of the main hatch, which would supposedly direct evacuating astronauts away from the wings. But I wonder if any astronauts took that precaution seriously. It would have been no help in accidents like Challenger's, BTW.

I think the main lesson from the Shuttle era is "Don't put a megaton bomb's worth of fuel on against the belly of the spacecraft!!!!!!!"

Oh, aside from Challenger and Columbia, the US has not lost any other manned spacecraft (Apollo I's crew died in a fire on the launch pad during a rehearsal). The Russinas, if memory serve, have lost two, also. An early one-man capsule, and a latter Soyuz in the 60s or 70s. But their rockets are less likely to blow up (no add-on boosters), and their capsules re-entry shielding is safely ensconced inside the rocket's body all through launch.

What's amazing is that only two shuttles were killed in action, IMO...
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Ayecarumba
Ayecarumba
Joined: Nov 17, 2009
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October 16th, 2012 at 12:52:07 PM permalink
I don't see it catching on when Virgin Galactic will be able to take you twice as high for about the same cost. Also, trips to the International Space Station are still available. The singer, Sarah Brightman, recently kicked a NASA astrounaut off of a Russian launch by paying the equivalent of $51 million USD.
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