Google is truly taking over the world. It’s taking over the stratosphere too, as evident with news last month that Google’s search czar, 59 year old Alan Eustace, eclipsed Felix Baumgartner’s record with an even higher jump from space.
Yup, fearless Felix is no longer the record holder for highest jump, though he’ll always be the first man to jump from the stratosphere, and the first to break the sound barrier with nothing other than gravity.
More about the jump. Unlike Baumgartner’s skydiving masterpiece two years ago (which was admittedly a little hyped courtesy of Red Bull), Eustace trained in relative secrecy. He jumped on October 24, aided by a small group of engineers, beginning just before dawn, near Roswell, New Mexico, and ascended in a helium-filled balloon for two hours.
Then at peak altitude, he jumped, with a little less fanfare and a little more cubic inches. That would be 136,000 feet above terra firm – a full 7,000 feet (almost a mile and a half) higher than our favorite Austrian. No hype, no live streaming. Just a man three years’ shy of senior status, who leaped, and hit speeds beyond 800 miles an hour.
Good enough for him to break the speed barrier, though Eustace says he didn’t know when that happened.
Cojones to Alan Eustace. The guy’s almost 60, and holds down an office job – not your prototype skydiving guru like Felix when you look at him. Yet there he is, quietly – ultra secretly even – as he punctures the sky with a skydiving record that should stand for at least a few months…right?
I can’t help but feel a little bad for Felix. Still, he’s a legend, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he pulls off another crazy stunt to reclaim his skydiving crown in one form or another.