Suit for Daredevil Felix Baumgartner’s Freefall Designed by Worcester, MA Company

Austrian daredevil Felix Baumgartner was scheduled to make a record-breaking free fall jump from nearly 23 miles above Southeastern New Mexico Tuesday, but the jump has been postponed by least one day. When the jump does take place, Baumgartner will be wearing a pressure suit designed in Worcester, Massachusetts. 

The suit is a version of those that David Clark Company designs for air force pilots who fly at high altitudes. Dan Barry, Vice President of the Worcester-based company,  says the suit will provide Baumgartner oxygen and pressure stabilization as he drops in a capsule suspended from a balloon. Barry says his company never takes up contracts for individuals hoping to break records.

“Our business model is not to sell pressure suits to everyone on the street.”

But, he says, the Stratos Project, as Baumgartner’s jump is called, provided the company with a scientific opportunity to test its product outside of a simulation.

“It gives us the ability to validate those designs in real environments. We do, obviously, a lot of engineering and simulation on computers, but nothing beats the actual validation of putting the equipment through its paces.”
 
If all goes according to plan, Baumgartner will break the world record for highest freefall, and could be the first human to break the sound barrier. The previous freefall record of 102,800 feet, or just over 19 miles, was set by Air Force Colonel Joe Kittinger in 1960.