The Red Bull Stratos medical and engineering teams will be sharing their groundbreaking findings throughout the scientific community. Interest in the mission is high from industry experts eager for information that can help them to improve aerospace safety.
Dr Jonathan Clark is the Medical Director on the Red Bull Stratos mission and is collecting data from Felix Baumgartner’s supersonic freefall that will redefine the limits of the human body.
“Red Bull Stratos is making significant contributions to the Crew Escape Systems area – in layman's terms, in regard to high-altitude bailout -- that are of interest to the commercial space sector, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration, NASA, and the military,”
Dr Clark and his team have been working side-by-side with Felix in preparation for today’s Red Bull Stratos launch. When Felix arrives back on the earth the extreme athlete will once again be tested by the doctors to see what effect freefalling at the speed of sound has had on his body.
“We have already shared a great deal of our work with the space flight industry, and there will be more data to come when the mission is complete.”
Clark and his team will be presenting 11 talks at the 2013 Aerospace Medical Association meeting. The team’s initial paper has been accepted for publication by “Aviation, Space and Environmental Medicine,” a leading journal distributed to more than 80 nations.
“I have been very heavily involved in spacecraft escape and stratospheric bailout, and so for me the ultimate reason I am here is to validate that crews can survive higher altitudes and higher speed without adverse effects. If this can be done, it opens up a whole new avenue for crew escape out from spacecraft in emergency situations. Red Bull Stratos is accumulating a huge amount of data that can further that effort.”
Some of the key benefits of a successful Red Bull Stratos mission for the science community are as follows:
- To aid development of a new generation of “personal protective ensemble” (space suit with enhanced mobility and visual clarity, parachute rig, life support system) by testing in the actual space-equivalent environment, with the aim of leading toward passenger/crew exit from space.
- To understand the dynamics of breaking the speed of sound in freefall – including the potential need for stabilization equipment -- and to aid development of protocols for exposure to high altitude/high acceleration.
- To evaluate crew survival procedures and equipment appropriate for stratospheric aircraft and suborbital vehicles.
- To evaluate a physiologic monitoring system in a pressurized spacesuit environment.
- To develop a best practices procedure for the initial treatment of exposure to pressure loss at high altitude, including use of a specialized ventilator. Although the team doesn't expect Felix to experience difficulties, lung injury is a hazard of accidental exposure to the low-pressure environment of the stratosphere. Using liquid oxygen, this ventilator system is simple, durable, and requires no external power source. It is often used for very premature infants or burn victims with compromised lungs; incorporation of the ventilator into a field-based environment is one of the innovations of the Red Bull Stratos medical protocols