RUSH: How about Felix Baumgartner? I watched this yesterday. I was one of the eight million watching it on the Internet. By the way, that is its own topic. Eight million people with no buffering and no problems whatsoever watched an event on YouTube via the Internet. That’s the biggest red flag to broadcast television yet. The previous YouTube record was 500,000. One of the problems with the Internet has always been buffering, crowded, over-usage, jerky play-back. Eight million people were looking at it on high definition yesterday just as though it was on television. I’ll tell you, the broadcast networks were smart. They’re lucky they’ve got the NFL locked up for ten years. The NFL can’t go YouTube for ten years. But I’m telling you, that is an amazing topic in and of itself, what it means for broadcasting.
All of my life, since the space program began, I have had a recurring — and it doesn’t happen often — but I’ve had a recurring dream, slash nightmare. It’s not so much a nightmare, but it was that I was stranded on a satellite 25,000 miles high. And the only way to get home was to jump. I was outside. I was not wearing a space suit. I was alive. None of it was possible. But I was stranded on a satellite and the only way home is to jump. And I’m clinging to one of the arms, one of the wings of the satellite, one of the solar panels by my fingertips, by my hands. I’m just hanging there. There’s no other way to get home other than to jump, and I do. And after that, I don’t know what happens. I either wake up or forget it or what have you. But I’m alive to remember it, so I figure I got home.
So honestly, when I’m watching this yesterday, I’ve seen it. I’ve had a mental picture of exactly the view that we saw yesterday. I know this sounds like a made-up politician Clinton story. This is exactly the kind of lie Bill Clinton would tell, or Hillary. Yeah, I was named after Sir Edmund Hillary which could not happen because he didn’t climb Mt. Everest ’til four years after she was born, but they tell lies like that.
But I’m telling you, I’ve had this dream, and I’ve heard people, “I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t step out of that little capsule.” I think I could because I’ve done it all my life in my dream. There are a bunch of things about this that — for example, a real quick question. If Felix Baumgartner can jump out of a capsule 24 and a half miles high, why can’t people in New York buy 32-ounce sodas?
Really! I would think… I mean, weighing the dangers of jumping from a capsule 24 miles up, that the calculation would be that that’s much more risky than drinking a 32-ounce Coke or Sprite or 7-Up or root beer. Take your pick. So if a guy understands the risks of a given behavior, he goes up 24 and a half miles… Five years training on this! Do you realize Red Bull paid for this? The government didn’t.
The beverage, Red Bull, paid for it, otherwise it would not have happened, not with Obama’s budget priorities. If somehow Baumgartner could have convinced Obama that there was “Muslim outreach” in this jump, he might have been able to get funding for it. But I don’t think he even tried. I’m watching every minute of this. In fact I’m watching this instead of football. I watched from the moment the balloon launched.
I watched the entire assent to 127,000 feet, whatever it was. I watched the jump, and I saw the long-range camera from one of the tracking trucks on the ground where he was out of control, spinning out of control. I saw the jump, and I had made a mistake. I thought that he was going to dive head first off that capsule because of something I had read earlier that also had graphics and diagrams of how this was going to take place.
I thought was gonna be head first all the way down. It wasn’t. It was a bunny hop off that thing and straight down, just going straight down. This is what I’m gonna have to ask some experts because I don’t understand. At some point during this jump — and 800-some-odd miles an hour beats (is well past) the speed of sound. It breaks the sound barrier. Nobody knew what would happen to the human body doing that not in a vehicle.
At some point, he starts spinning out of control. You can see it. You can see he’s spinning out of control. Today I saw the video from the helmet cam where he was spinning out of control. He said he almost lost consciousness and was very distorted. He was sticking one arm out trying to slow the spin and the next arm out to create drag, trying to slow the spin. (This is why you do the training.) I don’t know what causes the spin in the first place.
There’s another thing, too, that I’ve gotta ask. Maybe some experts in the audience have the answer to this. I have heard that when people jump from great heights, say to commit suicide or do it intending to harm themselves, that most of the time that people die of cardiac arrest on the way down, shock, fright. I can’t tell you the source; I’ve read this so many places over the years that I can’t give you a cite right now.
They just die of cardiac arrest and therefore they’re not aware of hitting. I don’t know if that’s just a story they’re telling us so that we don’t feel as bad for the person, or if it’s true. If it is true that most people jumping from heights experience cardiac arrest on the way down, then how does somebody like Baumgartner jumping from 24-and-a-half miles not experience it? I know training. I know this and that.
I don’t know how you go into the spin if you’re jumping, if you just go straight down. Obviously you go through the jet stream at some degree. There’s wind, just a lot of this stuff. I tried to find this out. I spent a lot of time on the Web searching various sites where you can ask questions and I never got any satisfactory answers to any of this. I don’t know how he got the spin under control, but I saw that he did and he was coming face down.
He was head down out of that spin, face first, and that parachute pops 7,500 feet. I thought it popped higher than that, but it didn’t. It popped at 7,500 feet. It was originally supposed to pop at 5,000. Do you know one of the most dangerous points in this whole thing yesterday was the first 4,000 feet of the ascent? That’s too high an altitude to bail out of there if you have to and survive.
If something had gone wrong in the first 4,000 feet, it could have been very bad. Any point after that if something goes wrong — pshew! — you can pop the hatch and go. Can you imagine standing on that step of that capsule, which they say is the size of a skateboard? Can you imagine standing there? You know that you’re 24 miles up. You’ve got claustrophobia, by the way. He’s got claustrophobia; he had to deal with that.
They kept him very busy rehearsing everything going up in the tiny capsule. You step out, you’re 24 miles up, and there’s only one thing you can do. (laughing) There’s only one option you’ve got! You can’t go back in and come back down. You have to jump. I don’t care how much training you’ve got. I don’t care how many times you’ve rehearsed it. I don’t care how many previous jumps you made from 100,000 feet.
That’s why he didn’t dawdle.
He hit that step, and bam! He didn’t stand there thinking about it much. He’s competent. You’ve got a parachute. You’ve got oxygen and so forth. It’s not as though you’re stranded and have no options. It’s still an amazing thing. An amazing thing. And it was not an Evel Knievel thing. It’s actually gonna have real-life application. When they start selling trips into space for civilians and something goes wrong, this is evidence that you could jump out of a distressed spacecraft at such an altitude and survive.
Maybe. (interruption) Well, no, it demonstrates that it’s possible. Maybe not that you could, but that it is possible with the right amount of training and all that. I’m still fascinated by it, though. I think everybody is — going into the spin and how he stopped the spin. In a spin that rapid, you lose all cognition, and you can see it on the helmet cam if you haven’t taken the chance to look at it.