27 Sep, 2012

Equivital and Red Bull Stratos: Space Jump

Equivital is about to embark on a challenge afforded to it by the Red Bull Human performance team, that is to provide mobile human data – this time however it will see us sending the Equivital LifeMonitor up to the edge of space – 120,000 ft from earth – to monitor  Felix Baumgartner, the man who could break the speed of sound.

Felix’s attempt to break Joe Kittenger’s 1960 record jump from 102,800ft will see him ascending to the edge of space in a stratospheric balloon and freefalling back down to earth, in a jump that could see a human being falling faster than the speed of sound – and open up immense barriers to science and medicine.

The questions that surround the Red Bull Stratos Space Jump and the effect the actual jump could have on Felix’s body, are numerous.The Equivital LifeMonitor has played a  fundamental role in providing information during the training and acclimitisation phases leading up to the jump.  Equivital will also help to enable the real-time monitoring of Felix’s physiology during and after the mission that hopes to exceed human limits.

It is hoped that significant scientific contributions will come from the Space Jump including  exploring the effects of supersonic acceleration and decelleraton on the human body.  The jump is set to give unique data never recorded before. It will be the Equivital LifeMonitor that will record the effect on Felix’s body.

Felix will wear the Equivital LifeMonitor throughout the mission, during which his ECG, heart rate, respiratory rate, acceleration forces, skin and core body temperature will all be measured as he falls to the ground. This data will be combined with environmental and GPS data to provide a contextualised understanding of cause and effect.

Dr Andy Walshe, High Performance Director at Red Bull, says of Equivital: "A critical part of the performance management program at Red Bull, and specifically the scientific program for Red Bull Stratos, is our requirement to have a detailed understanding of the physical loads and stress on the body.

“In order to ensure that we have the most accurate and reliable information, we examined a wide range of physiological monitoring systems and in the end decided that the Equivital system was the most suitable for the rigorous environments we work in. We needed to have a device that could withstand the extremes of the environments our athletes are exposed to but at the same time deliver research-quality data at a level we require."

Anmol Sood, Equivital CEO, adds: “The Red Bull Stratos project has brought together some of the world’s leading minds in aerospace medicine, engineering and development, and we are proud to say Equivital is helping this incredible team to venture into new realms of body monitoring and scientific exploration.  We wish Felix and the whole Red Bull team the best of luck in their final preparations over the next week, and with the jump itself.”

To follow the countdown to the jump and for regular commentary from the Equivital team and other expert commentators on the preparation and the actual jump please visit us on Facebook and Twitter.