Alan Eustace, Google’s Senior Vice President, is either insanely brave or really confident in his equipment. Perhaps he’s a bit of both.
Eustace broke the record for highest skydive ever on Friday, jumping from 135,890 feet above the Earth. According to The Verge, Eustace accomplished this without the media attention drummed up by Red Bull in 2012 when Felix Baumgartner jumped from 128,100 feet. In fact, The Verge notes that Eustace’s jump was first reported by The New York Times’ science Twitter account.
To safely ascend to that height and to safely fall back to Earth, Eustace relied on several pieces of high-tech equipment that were built, managed and operated by Paragon Space Development Corporation.
Paragon’s website notes that Eustace was carried up to 135,890 feet by a scientific balloon and that he relied on a spacesuit similar to the ones used on the International Space Station to survive at that altitude. He then used a small drogue chute to stabilize himself during his free fall and a fully maneuverable rectangular parachute to execute a soft landing.
“In rapid free fall, Alan experienced a short period of near weightlessness and within 90 seconds exceeded the speed of sound,” Paragon writes. “Stabilized by a small drogue chute, he continued to free fall into thickening atmosphere for about five minutes.”