Near Space Diver: Love the Jump, Hate the Suit

Hardest part of free-fall from 120,000 feet is sitting in suit
Seattle P-I

The hardest part about riding a balloon up to 120,000 feet, jumping out and free-falling faster than sound before parachuting to Earth is likely to be sitting around in the pressure suit, Austrian pilot Felix Baumgartner said Wednesday.

The mission would have Baumgartner, 40, suited for five hours, including two hours of “prebreathing” oxygen to get nitrogen out of the blood, ascent and jump. His longest stint in the suit with the visor down so far is three hours and it was “terrible, to be honest.”

“You don’t hear any noise from the outside, so you’re completely by yourself, and it’s a little hard to deal with all the loneliness,” he said. “You get claustrophobic.”

The “Red Bull Stratos” team announced the effort in January, drawing pretty much the same initial reaction from most people, according to Baumgartner: “Are you crazy?”

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