Red Bull Stratos was a high altitude diving project involving Austrian skydiver Felix Baumgartner. On 14 October 2012, Baumgartner flew approximately 39 kilometres (24 mi) into the stratosphere over New Mexico, United States, in a helium balloon before free falling in a pressure suit and then parachuting to Earth. The total jump, from leaving the capsule to landing on the ground, lasted approximately ten minutes. While the free fall was initially expected to last between five and six minutes, Baumgartner deployed his parachute after 4 minutes and 19 seconds.
Reaching 1,357.64 km/h (843.6 mph)—Mach 1.25—Baumgartner broke the sound barrier on his descent, becoming the first human to do so without any form of engine power. Measurements show Baumgartner also broke two other world records. With a final altitude of 38,969 m (127,851 ft; 24 mi), Baumgartner broke the unofficial record for the highest manned balloon flight . He also broke the record for the highest altitude jump, set in 1960 by USAF Colonel Joseph Kittinger, who was Baumgartner’s mentor and capsule communicator at mission control. These claims were verified by the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI). Source: Wikipedia
MICAR FABRICATION PLAYS KEY ROLE IN SUCCESS OF RED BULL STRATOS PROJECT
Back in early 2010 Red Bull started developing the Red Bull Strato project. They were assembling key people like Dennis Fisher a Range Optics Engineer at Vandenberg AFB. Dennis reached out to Western Video Systems at the test range which had varius Military Camera Housings manufactured by Micar Fabrication.
Red Bull Stratos was looking for someone that could produce specialized camera housings for this unique event and W.V.S. recommended Micar Fabrication. Red Bull Stratos was also in discussion with Flightline films which is based in Las Vegas. Micar Fabrication was recommended and in the same time frame Flightline Films was approached by Red Bull Stratos. It was convenient that Flightline Films and Micar happen to be in Las Vegas.
The Prototype – Jay from Flightline Films came into Micar with a cardboard tube mock-up with the approximate dimensions for the cameras. There were no drawings or official dimensions. The complex design issue was around constructing a housing capable of 30lbs of nitrogen gas to eliminate any moisture that oxygen is normally composed of. Also, the pressurized nitrogen prevents the housing from collapsing at 100,000+ feet.
Fabrication Process – Determine the size and then rolled the tube out of 1/16th and machined all the pieces of 3/4th thick to weld to the housing. Amazingly, without any drawings or specs the first prototype ended up being the actual foundation for the eventual final production. Any large engineering firm would have taken 100’s of hours in speculation, design and mockups.
After several production delays, Red Bull Stratos gave the green light for final productions but also required the housings to be completed in 3 months. Red Bull Stratos did a total of three jumps. The first jump was done with simple GoPro cameras. The 2nd jump was a go and the balloon got to almost 100,000 feet and due to some RF frequency issues, the signals disrupted the ability for the the chute to deploy and the capsule hit earth at terminal velocity and most of the the capsule was demolished but the camera housings were basically unscathed. The final jump was successful on October 14th, 2012. We are proud to be a part of such great history.