Saturday, December 20, 2003

American skydiver to jump from edge of space: "An American female skydiver plans to set a world record for the highest free-fall by jumping to earth from the edge of space. In a feat which could lead to an astronaut bailing out of a space shuttle, Cheryl Stearns plans to make the 25-mile jump in 2005. She is preparing with the aid of the US space agency NASA."

"Ms Stearns, who is a champion skydiver, told New Scientist magazine that her aim was not just to set a record. Her jump from the stratospheric height in March 2005 could benefit shuttle crews facing a situation like those on board the Columbia, which disintegrated when entering the Earth's atmosphere on 1 February, at a height of 200,000ft and travelling at about 12,500mph."

"Ms Stearns plans to wear complete spacesuits, as there is negligible oxygen at their target altitude. Ms Stearns estimated she would reach Mach 1, the speed of sound, in 47 seconds but wouldslow down when she reached 100,000ft, where the atmosphere thickens. Even there, she would be three times higher than the summit of Everest."

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