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Oct 17 2012

The Big Stunt

I refrained from joining in the enthusiasm for Felix Baumgartner’s 128,000 foot parachute jump. It was a spectacular act of bravery, but it was also little more than a colossal stunt and a $10 million advertising gimmick for Red Bull. I just didn’t see the point — there was nothing learned from this event — and it seemed spectacularly crass, with a lot of truly stupid hype surrounding the story.

Now a historian puts the Stratos stunt in context. That makes it a little better, but it’s still a big commercial that put a man’s life at risk.

71 comments

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  1. 1
    NelC

    I’d say Baumgartner put himself at risk, which is what guys like him do. My impression is that he was well-prepared for his adventurous leap, not that he was hoodwinked into doing something dangerous with no input from himself.

  2. 2
    tanyawalker

    Anybody notice that error above? Faster than the speed of light.. yeah…

  3. 3
    Ray Ingles

    This isn’t the first time journalism students have displayed a little ignorance of Relativity: http://www.ntk.net/2003/02/07/doh18c.jpg

  4. 4
    paulburnett

    NelC (#1) wrote “…which is what guys like him do.”

    Remember Evel Knievel? “The 35 broken bones he suffered during his career earned him an entry in the Guinness Book of World Records as the survivor of “most bones broken in a lifetime”.” – Wikipedia. That’s what these guys do.

  5. 5
    madtom1999

    It was advertising pure and simple – the press lapped it up. I personally found it fascinating but never really considered it ‘science’ that some sold it as.
    Its not going to make me drink Red-Bull and some of the engineering that went on may be of use to others later but Baumgartneer knew what he was doing and from what I can gather was a lot less likely to die than your average PADI scuba diver.

    All this dismissing of him – its not due to him taking world records off the US is it?
    Wont mention the golf here…

  6. 6
    franko

    Am I particularly unobservant, or did we see something different in the UK from the USA? I never picked up the name ‘Red Bull’ at all, and I watched both the live presentation and the abridged news reports later! I know Red Bull is all over the YouTube versions but I’d rate this as a pretty lousy ad. Did he have the name printed on his helmet or somthing? Did nobody warn Red Bull he’d look lilke a tiny dot in the distance for most of the jump?

    If anyone from Red Bull sees this, it occurs to me that my comment is a much more successful ad: please send me appropriate payment.

  7. 7
    Philip

    I was actually quite impressed by this feat, a man traveled faster than the speed of sound in a freefall with the aid from all that science could offer.

    Is it not incredible that we can now get a balloon that high with a human inside it? Or that he was able to reach the speed of sound and then land on the ground safely?

    Ok, in the grand scheme of things there are people fighting for their lives around the world who probably could have done with that $10 million. Plus there is this idiot needlessly putting his life on the line.

    And yes, it did have Red Bull’s name plastered all over it.

    But I still think it is an extremely impressive achievement and worthy of some praise.

  8. 8
    andrewryan

    My four-year-old daughter was fascinated by it, and now keeps asking me about parachutes and balloons and space. I went on to show her NASA footage of rockets and moon walks. She lapped it all up. These kind of stunts can be great for stimulating young minds and firing children’s imagination.

  9. 9
    sundoga

    I have to ask, what’s wrong with someone risking their lives? It’s their lives to risk. As long as they aren’t endangering others, why is it anyone else’s business?

  10. 10
    timgueguen

    There was a Red Bull logo visible on his helmet during the ascent, but it took a bit of thinking on my part to realise what it actually was.

    A French parachutist named Michel Fournier tried to make a similar jump here in Saskatchewan in 2008 and 2010, but both attempts were aborted due to equipment failures. Plans for a third attempt in 2011 or 2012 didn’t get beyond the planning stage.

  11. 11
    AJ Milne

    (LOLs at screen cap…)

    That CERN team is behind this, right?

    Seriously, tho’, it is nice if it’s got people asking about Apollo and all, anyway.

  12. 12
    AlexanderZ

    I too didn’t know that it had anything to do with Red Bull. Not that i cared. It seems that this was directed mostly to US consumers.
    i wonder whether the US market is sufficient to justify such a waste of time and money.

  13. 13
    Brad

    I both join in and meh at your meh.

  14. 14
    zahnarzt

    It can stimulate conversation and spark an interest in science in space. So what if Red Bull sponsored it? Their logo was not pushed in your face constantly and no one ever claimed it was going to push science forward in any significant way, although NASA did use data from the jump to model potential bailout procedures for astronauts in orbit. I think Red Bull can be commended for their decision to do something like this versus some convoluted line of commercials. Red Bull is a disgusting unhealthy drink, but they developed a mutually beneficial partnership with science, broke two 60 year old records and gave people an educational and inspiring experience to boot. If only more corporations took this route!

  15. 15
    Martin Wagner

    So this is the hipster thread where we impress ourselves with how jaded we are because anything people do that might seem cool but is poisoned with the taint of corporate sponsorship is merely empty spectacle, innately without value? Yeah, totally, because a guy parachuting from the edge of space is just so “meh.” Hey, did you catch last night’s Big Bang Theory? That Sheldon! LOL!

    So it was a stunt. I prefer Ricky Gervais’s observation myself. Last week, science let a man leap to earth from the stratosphere and survive, while religion shot a child in the face for wanting to go to school.

  16. 16
    jmckaskle

    Would it have been better if he was sponsored by Larsen’s Buiscuits or Peniston Oil? All the people involved in it seemed to enjoy themselves and I enjoyed it. I’d like to see them take it further. Orbital surfing?

  17. 17
    cswella

    @jmckaskle

    Would have preferred the good ol’ taste of “Charleston Chew”.

  18. 18
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    So is Qantassaurus hopelessly and forever tainted by corporate sponsorship? Yes, it was a stunt. Yes, it is advertising for Red Bull. This strikes me as a better use of their advertising dollar than the Red Bull NASCAR car (in terms of actually doing some useful things while spending money to sell their product at the same time).

  19. 19
    Poggio

    Faster than the speed of light…

    In the back room of the studio is one overworked, high-school educated, minimum-wage news copy editor or zero-wage intern who decided to take biology instead of physics and even then got a C- because they couldn’t pay attention to detail

    Welcome to modern TV journalism

  20. 20
    Q.E.D

    OK, y’all are right, I agree with you, the Baumgartner jump could have been better, more scientific, more historical context, more education, less shamefully promoting a crappy cafeinated red drink etc

    But come on, the guy jumped from 24 miles above the earth! From his helmet cam you could see the earth 24 miles below him as he free fell towards it at 834 mph and became the first human to break the sound barrier – by falling.

    By almost any measure of “cool” in general parlance, this was cool.

    I wonder whether our reaction to this has some causal relationship with the observed phenomenon that the non-skeptic, science nerd, atheist, general population don’t invite us [1] to parties or date us much.

    [1] “us” values limited to “me” so as not to make unwarranted assumption about how awesome everyone else is.

  21. 21
    Rory

    Ya, the cynical takes on the jump are tiring. From people who out of hand condemn it as pointless to those calling it a waste, it all smacks of a really incongruous attitude about mankind. Red Bull provided some cash, what’s o bad about that? And what is there to dislike about pushing human boundaries just a little bit. Was it some massive accomplishment that will help millions? Nope. But is it a small point of light we can all look at and celebrate? Sure is. And waving your hand at the view that it is a small point of light seems to contradict a lot of humanist attitudes.

  22. 22
    Blattafrax

    You miss the primary benefit – he showed just how irrelevant David Blaine’s “stunts” are and distracted attention from his latest. That’s got to be worth $10 million.

    Otherwise, this was well cool, he risked only his own life and I didn’t have to pay for it. Even if it was just entertainment that’s fine with me.

    But Red Bull still tastes like (bee) shit.

  23. 23
    F [i'm not here, i'm gone]

    Yeah, the positive comments are tiring, too. The thing is, so fucking what? Technology easily allows for this, some dude felt like doing it and did it. the continuous hype is unneeded. Do it, film it, show it, then shut up.

    The “achievements of human kind” angle is what is jaded. This is an achievement? As for bravery, it’s not. It’s thrill-seeking, which is pretty much the opposite.

  24. 24
    reliwhat

    YO PZ, my man, why ya hatin’ so much????

  25. 25
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    You are a tiresome idiot, reliwhat.

  26. 26
    Nick Gotts

    By almost any measure of “cool” in general parlance, this was cool. – Q.E.D.

    Is “cool” the most meaningless word in English?

    So it was a stunt. I prefer Ricky Gervais’s observation myself. Last week, science let a man leap to earth from the stratosphere and survive, while religion shot a child in the face for wanting to go to school. – Martin Wagner

    So, are we content to contrast something useless with something vile? I think science can do a lot better than that.

  27. 27
    Hamish

    I think its fantastic that there are still boundaries to push and people to push them. People have been doing these crazy stunts for 100 years, always trying to go higher, faster and further. For no reason other than that its freaking awesome.

  28. 28
    Mike

    I’m glad to find a few like minds on this stunt. I got hammered for asking WTH good it did. I got told I should try it next time and that it took five years to plan (like that makes any difference). If Redbull wants to impress me they should build schools and give money, lots of money, to failing school districts so we have an educational system that at least rivals third world countries.

  29. 29
    Glen Davidson

    I’ll say this for it–it wasn’t about the election.

    Glen Davidson

  30. 30
    Q.E.D

    Nick Gott @ 26

    Is “cool” the most meaningless word in English?

    “You don’t like the word” =/= meaningless

    According to the Online Etymology Dictionary it has meant “calmly audacious” since 1825.

  31. 31
    kurt1

    Professor Rupert Gerzer, head of the medical department of the DLR (Deutschen Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; german aerospace center) in Cologne disagrees with you. According to a (german)radiointerview he gave the security protocols in place could be of use in manned aerospace travel. Though this was probably not the intent of Baumgartner and his team.

  32. 32
    chigau (違う)

    Is “cool” the most meaningless word in English?

    I’d like to vote for “awesome”.
    ——
    ≠
    =

  33. 33
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    Cool is teh awesome!

  34. 34
    Tomaz79

    I’m really surprised by all the cynicism regarding Felix’s jump. Forget Red Bull for a moment – if that image of Felix standing on the platform and then jumping off didn’t give you goosebumps …

    It gives me a renewed excitement about science and technology and how amazing the achievement of certain primates can be.

  35. 35
    chigau (違う)

    It just occurred to me (I’m probably late) that, like The Moon Landing™, this was faked.

  36. 36
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    It gives me a renewed excitement about science and technology and how amazing the achievement of certain primates can be.

    I do not need a man jumping from the outer reaches of space to be excited. The fact that I have friends and family who are still alive despite accidents, illnesses and ailments that, a century ago would have left them dead. And I am still amazed at the instantaneous communication with people around the world, something we did not really have thirty years ago.

    We do not need to look far to find the amazing achievements that our fellow primates have done.

  37. 37
    a miasma of incandescent plasma

    I’d like to vote for “awesome”.

    OT, but I always wondered why George Carlin never did a thing about “awesome”. I mean, I may be wrong, but I figure the word is implying that something is awe-inspiring, something that puts you in a state of awe, etc…

    So something that has “some” awe = awesome.
    Something that is full of awe = awful… wait… uh, stupid English…

  38. 38
    prtsimmons

    I had to laugh at the phrase ” a big commercial that put a man’s life at risk”. I assume you are familiar with NASCAR, the NFL and college football, the Blue Angels, concerts in the park, Japanese game shows, and all the millions of other events that are put on for commercial purposes that carry some risk to human life, right? Because if you are going to say that putting someone’s life at risk for commercial purposes is stupid, you should also mention that every truck driver, miner, logger, construction worker, 7-11 employee, fisher, taxi driver, and security guard is risking their lives for the almighty dollar. On a dollar/risk ratio scale, Baumgartner was taking a moderate risk for a big payoff, while the night shift 7-11 employee selling cans of Red Bull is taking a moderate risk (of being shot) for a tiny payoff. I mean, it was just a stunt (like climbing a mountain or sitting on a triceratops) but I think it was a pretty neat stunt. If the lives at risk were all consenting, well-informed adults, I don’t think the risking of human lives is a problem. (Having said that, I have heard a lot of hype about it, too. It’s cool, but it’s not on the level of the Apollo missions or anything.)

  39. 39
    Nick Gotts

    if that image of Felix standing on the platform and then jumping off didn’t give you goosebumps … – Tomaz79

    Then what?

    According to the Online Etymology Dictionary it has meant “calmly audacious” since 1825.

    I have never heard it used with that meaning, or indeed, with any specific meaning at all.

  40. 40
    What a Maroon, oblivious

    from what I can gather was a lot less likely to die than your average PADI scuba diver.

    I think you’re underestimating the danger. Given that he broke the light barrier, there was a good chance that on the way down he would collide with himself on the way up.

    That would’ve been spectacular.

  41. 41
    ogremeister

    I think that what made this stunt attractive to most people is the opportunity to put themselves in Baumgartner’s place. The live cameras presenting the views from the capsule and from his suit drew people in and made them imagine, “What if that were me?”*

    Along with this second-hand experience is the sense that there are few opportunities for the common person to explore frontiers, both inward and outward. Experimentation at the LHC or in labs examining genetic composition don’t offer the same experiential treatment to the non-involved. The Mars missions have/do offer a similar opportunity, but those involve robots…and it’s difficult to project oneself into that situation in the same sense.

    Until the commercial space visitor market starts up, it’s difficult to imagine a chance to vicariously experience that same pushing of the envelope.
    ===
    *Unfortunately, that view caused me to experience a momentary sensation of vertigo and the thought of, “I’m glad that isn’t me.”

  42. 42
    Doug Little

    I don’t know, I watched it, I thought it was cool. Felix just had the red bull logo on his helmet, it wasn’t like one of the check off items was;

    Now Felix, reach into the lower equipment locker, remove can of red bull and show camera. Can I get a “Red bull gives you wings” confirmation on that.

  43. 43
  44. 44
    Glen Davidson
    According to the Online Etymology Dictionary it has meant “calmly audacious” since 1825.

    I have never heard it used with that meaning, or indeed, with any specific meaning at all.

    Might as well just say that you haven’t read nearly enough pulp fiction.

    Glen Davidson

  45. 45
    Alex

    Here’s a question:

    Is the science content of Felix Baumgartners jump not comparable to the potential science value added of a (wo)manned Mission to Mars? Spending the additional costs for a manned Mars mission on smart robots instead would do much more good for science in the short and intermediate time scales (until the far future when we really can make concrete plans about settlements). Sending humans to Mars now would merely have an inspirational value – just like FBs stunt.

  46. 46
    Glen Davidson

    I guess to me it was just too much “things fall fast.”

    Yup.

    Glen Davidson

  47. 47
    Doug Little

    The one thing that did piss me off was the insistence of the mission controller to keep reminding Felix that a guardian angel was watching over him. If he meant that as science and sound engineering and planning then I can excuse it.

  48. 48
    unclefrogy

    I did not follow this nor am I very interested in this stunt that is just personal has nothing to do with the stunt just my personal interests.
    I do not follow sports either but that is unimportant also.
    Some guy jumping to earth from the edge of space or adults getting paid large amounts of money to play with balls strikes me as kind of absurd and silly.
    I would prefer a world where the things that are of interest, that we do are these kinds of things regardless of their practicality or usefulness to society. Instead we have the most important things like to be war, religion, power and greed and their inevitable and associated death and destruction dominate society.

    strange

    uncle frogy

  49. 49
    Menyambal

    I’m a fan of ballooning, parachuting and space, and I’d have loved to have done the jump, but this really was just a stunt. The only “first” about it was exceeding the speed of sound, but that wasn’t even detectable at the time. It was a little higher and a little faster than what was done before, but beating a fifty-year-old technology achievement is not awesome.

    What was amazing about it was that the world could watch, in real time (video delayed for possible accidents), and that the man who had done the previous jump, fifty years before, was alive and healthy enough to participate in the project. Also, not amazing in a good way, was that the event was sponsored by a commercial enterprise, which sells an “energy drink”, and that many of the observers and commenters seemed so confused by what was happening.

    “Speed of light” and “edge of space”, forsooth. And the thought that this project would help astronauts bail out of the space station? Red Bull did show some restraint in the advertising, but could have done better in explaining what was really going on. But it was Red Bull’s money, and their show, and I liked some of the images.

    By the way, “awful” used to mean “full of awe”, or “filling with awe”, or, roughly, “awesome”. But it got overused, and the kids started getting sarcastic with it, so the meaning changed. But if you really squint, an awful day gives you an overwhelmed feeling, just like standing in an awe-inspiring cathedral makes you feel small.

  50. 50
    Noadi

    That money came out of Red Bull’s advertising budget, so it was going to be spent on advertising of of some sort or another. If I had to choose between spending $10 million to sponsor someone who wants to skydive 24 miles and break the speed of sound or make a Super Bowl commercial, I think that $10 million was well spent. FB risked his life but he chose to do it because this is the type of thing he lives for, all Red Bull did was help fund a stunt he’s been planning for years. Would it have been different if he had used Kickstarter to raise the money instead?

    Also, to those who are complaining that it didn’t advance science enough for you. Why does that matter? Is there no value to anything we do if it doesn’t have some tangible use? Can’t we just do things because they are spectacular to watch? That argument always rubs me the wrong way since I’m involved in the arts and that is the excuse artists and musicians get all the time for why they are always the first on the budget chopping block. I don’t think FB is equivalent to a symphony orchestra but the arguments against are the same, not useful enough.

  51. 51
    nms

    “Fearless Felix” travelled faster than speed of light

    Wow! In accordance with the Superman principle, that means he landed before he took off, right?

  52. 52
    Nerull

    Redbull sponsors a lot of these sort of things. I know they had recently sponsored a contest to build neat devices using a redbull logo shaped Arduino.

    And you know what? I think it’s great.

    All the crap companies spend money on these days, quite a lot of which does real harm to other people, and company that spends a chunk of their profits encouraging people to experiment, have fun, and chase their dreams is the company we’re going to get outraged about? Really?

  53. 53
    Susannah

    I missed the advertising almost entirely, but that’s just me; I usually do. but I watched the video several times. I was impressed by this, in the same way I was inspired by stories I read, ‘way back in the middle of last century, about climbing Everest. And I saw it, again, as one more example of our human urge to always push the envelope. A good trait, one that got us where we are today, as far as science goes.

    The most memorable part for me, though, was the landing; so soft, as if he were just down from a local cliff I like to watch skydivers jump off. Better, even. They come down running and stumbling from the cliff, sometimes injuring themselves. He touched down in control, on his feet, walking. Amazing technology!

    (No, I’ve never jumped myself; always wanted to, always chickened out. I’m a bit clumsy, and would land butt first, for sure.)

    Oh, and my man had the same reaction as PZ; “So what?”

  54. 54
    The Vicar (via Freethoughtblogs)

    I have to ask, what’s wrong with someone risking their lives? It’s their lives to risk. As long as they aren’t endangering others, why is it anyone else’s business?

    Well, leaving aside the fact that the publicity of this stunt pushed other stories which might be considered more important out of the media, it was also basically a huge waste of fuel and material, just as any space flight which doesn’t have a specific beneficial goal also is. How much CO2 was released by this, again?

  55. 55
    davem

    It’s just as well Felix didn’t land on PZ’s lawn. He would have been shouted off it… Damn whippersnappers doing cool stuff!

  56. 56
    nms

    How much CO2 helium was released by this, again?

  57. 57
    thetalkingstove

    Well, leaving aside the fact that the publicity of this stunt pushed other stories which might be considered more important out of the media

    You can say that about pretty much anything – what about all the space in the media that gets ‘wasted’ on sports, entertainment, gossip, meaningless celebrity scandal?

    it was also basically a huge waste of fuel and material, just as any space flight which doesn’t have a specific beneficial goal also is. How much CO2 was released by this, again?

    Well, we may as well ban all passenger flights that are for pleasure then, if CO2 has to be justified to this degree. No more holidays for anyone, your trip does not have a specific beneficial goal!

    Honestly, if you’re not impressed by a man falling from the edge of space, no one’s saying you have to be. But this was a spectacle, like a huge rock concert, or a big glossy Hollywood blockbuster. No real end product, wasteful and indulgent in many ways, but entertaining and/or inspiring, should you choose to interpret it that way.

  58. 58
    ogremeister

    sundoga @ 9:

    As long as they aren’t endangering others, why is it anyone else’s business?

    Sure, as long as nobody was innocently wandering around the desert…or driving on a nearby highway…about 55 miles east of where Baumgartner landed, where the capsule came down on its own parachute.

  59. 59
    nooneinparticular

    …”there was nothing learned from this event”

    ORLY?

    http://news.yahoo.com/skydivers-feat-could-influence-spacesuit-design-205703698.html

  60. 60
    Ing

    Hey, did you catch last night’s Big Bang Theory? That Sheldon! LOL!

    Indeed! I too am glad that it is not socially acceptable to laugh at the neuroatypical again!

  61. 61
    Lofty

    The main thing he learned is that you have no control over your descending attitude if you can’t exert any force on yourself. He was pinwheeling in freefall until he had enough air drag and shaped himself into an arrowhead. It’s a wonder he didn’t pass out, I know that in my case the suit visor would have been covered in chunder.

  62. 62
    deniseroyer

    Bah! Skydiving is fun dag nabbit and if I could get Red Bull to sponsor me (and make me about ten years younger) would totally do it. Science went into making him safe and if anything was learned while the overhyped soda manufacturer footed the bill, win.

  63. 63
    olowkow

    It was not a stunt in the sense that Evel Knievel’s antics were stunts. Much of this technology is destined for use in other areas. I saw it as a worthwhile experiment.

  64. 64
    neeroc

    I wasn’t that interested in all the lead up to it, and forgot that it was (re)scheduled the other day. My husband happened to catch it and PVR it, and when we watched it with my 4 year old daughter she was fascinated. We talked about the layers of the Earth’s atmosphere, temperatures, the equipment he was wearing, parachuting, the pictures we were seeing from the cameras and any other questions she’s had. We’ve watched it every day since too.

    I’ve always been interested in world records, (I had my eye set on the wr for swinging *g*) so I’ll admit I’m glad I watched it. That spin had my heart in my throat, and I wonder how he missed the mark for the longest free-fall.

  65. 65
    jupiter

    Here’s another story about the actual science that was done. http://phys.org/news/2012-10-skydiver-feat-spacesuit.html

    I’m in the “Red Bull has a bunch of money to spend on advertising so it’s good that they spend it on something cool like this” camp. And hey, at least they got some NASA scientists to say it was valuable (I’ve become so jaded reading PZ). I agree with the linked article, they could have done much better to give context. But everyone should have already seen The Right Stuff, so they should have some background. At least on Yeager (A real pilot, not spam in a can).

    The real horror is how beverage companies have such an incredible amount of money to throw at celebrities and stunts like this. That advertising is what keeps people buying their product. If it didn’t increase their profit, they wouldn’t do it. So many people are willing to pay to be like their idols, even if it’s to drink the same drink that their idol is paid to drink. But I have a solution. J.R. Bob Dobbs will make you want to pay to hear what you think. http://www.subgenius.com

  66. 66
    Q.E.D

    According to the Online Etymology Dictionary it has meant “calmly audacious” since 1825. – Q.E.D
    I have never heard it used with that meaning, or indeed, with any specific meaning at all. – Nick Gott

    Today’s Torygraph headline: Romney looses his cool under fire

  67. 67
    bradleybetts

    A bloke just broke the sound barrier in nothing but a high-tech onesie. I don’t need historical context for that to be cool :)

  68. 68
    blf

    This jump was interesting (to me) mostly because Kittinger was involved, not just as capcom, but a key technical advisor. As far as I know, this was the only attempt on Kittinger’s record that Kittinger himself was involved with. He’d been asked numerous times but always turned the requests down, usually (as far as I know) citing a lack of “safety culture”.

    Baumgartner impressed Kittinger, and, as one example, took Kittinger’s advice to hold a series of practice jumps. The Pffft of All Knowledge says Kittinger was also involved in the design of Baumgartner’s suite and capsule.

     ────────────────────

    What I particularly liked was Ricky Gervais’s summary:

    Dear Religion,
    This week I safely dropped a man from space while you shot a child in the head for wanting to go to school.
    Yours, Science

  69. 69
    thorloar

    I would like to point out that this was, from a marketing standpoint a brilliant operation. Red Bull spends $10 million to do the jump, but it is broadcast on Discovery for better than free, they get paid, then Discovery makes their money back selling advertisement during Red Bulls marketing stunt.The cost is minimal to all parties as far as marketing cost go. This is the best marketing strategy since MTV launched. The fact that NASA is using data from the jump for their Survival Engineering office and it inspires young people into science is just a bonus. I wish more marketing was this creative and effective.

  70. 70
    thorloar

    Another thing of note, Baumgartner is the first person to reach space from American soil in a long time, even though hes not and Red Bull is not American!
    Com’on Space X!

  71. 71
    bucknellwebb

    now this is space science:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OUZBGsLcLvs

    Brooklyn Space Program
    http://www.brooklynspaceprogram.org/

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