Guest Posted February 16, 2008 Share Posted February 16, 2008 Man plans record skydive from edge of space Last Updated: 2:37am BST 14/08/2007 A retired French army colonel is aiming to take a stratospheric leap into the record books by completing a 1000mph skydive from the edge of space. Aiming to become the first human being to break the sound barrier in free-fall, Michel Fournier will ascend to an altitude of 25 miles in a helium-filled weather balloon before plunging to earth at supersonic speed. After years of training, millions of pounds of funding and numerous thwarted attempts, the daredevil Frenchman is expected to make the jump over the Saskatchewan plains in Canada next month. advertisement In the process of le Grand Saut or "Super Jump", the 63-year-old hopes to complete a lofty hat-trick - breaking records for the highest ever parachute jump, the longest sky dive, and the highest altitude achieved by a person in a balloon. Mr Fournier will be dressed in a £35,000 carbon fibre suit designed to protect him from freezing temperatures of -100C, as well as from extremely high temperatures caused by the air resistance created by his high-speed fall. A re-enforced crash helmet will protect his ears from the thunderous sonic boom he will create as he breaks the sound barrier. He will also have to spend hours before his leap inhaling pure oxygen to dispel any traces of nitrogen from his blood due to the thinness of the air at 40,000m. Over the past two decades Mr Fournier has sold antique furniture, a prized gun collection and even his home to press ahead with his dream of completing the record-breaking dive. He came closest in 2003, when his attempt was thwarted as his balloon burst shortly before lift-off. "People have said I am too old, but I am very fit and have trained hard," said the veteran of more than 8,500 parachute jumps who has followed a rigorous training regime including running, lifting weights, and yoga. "I would be lying if I said I wasn't afraid, but I am also very excited. It really is a leap into the unknown." SW Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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