Mission to edge of space cancelled due to winds

Added by on October 9, 2012

Felix Baumgartner’s mission to the edge of space was cancelled approximately 10 minutes after its scheduled launch on Tuesday. The launch was cancelled due to heavy winds.

The mission countdown started at five minutes and ended with final preparations underway. Baumgartner in a message that appeared on the mission’s Twitter feed said, “I am strapped into the capsule, and am ready to go.”

The huge helium balloon that was to carry the capsule to 120,000 feet had begun to be inflated when mission controllers determined that the wind at 700 feet (the top of the balloon) was too strong to continue inflating the balloon.

The balloon requires wind speed to be less than 2 miles per hour to be safely inflated and launched.

The mission was cancelled approximately 10 minutes after the countdown completed with Baumgartner exiting the capsule and carted off in an RV/trailer.

Mission controllers have not yet provided an update about their next launch attempt, yet the Twitter feed contained the following later in the day:

“Weather Update: Tomorrow conditions are not suitable for a launch. Weather updates coming soon”

The current mission, called Stratos, is expected to have Baumgartner travelling at or faster than the speed of sound within 40 seconds after jumping from a pressurized capsule attached to a helium balloon that’s large enough to cover 40 football fields. The capsule, weighing 2,900 pounds, will travel at over 1,000 feet per minute to reach the target altitude of 120,000 feet within about three hours.

Baumgartner will be wearing a specialized, pressurized space suit that protects him during his super-sonic descent.He will also be wearing a 12 pound pack on his chest which contains instruments and communications equipment that will transmit readings and other data to mission control in real-time.

The mission launches from the US in Roswell, New Mexico, a desert region in the southwestern United States, known for its sunny weather and favourable conditions for aerospace innovation.