Even if the world has moved on a little bit since Felix’s epic step out of that capsule, us skydivers are still geeking out over the gear used. Even if none of it is likely to be of much use to us at 13500 feet, it’s still cool to see that the skydiving companies that manufacture our everyday gear are up to the challenges presented in unique situation like this.
We’ve already covered the L&B Altirack Felix used, and now it’s on to the less visible components: the AAD.
We went straight to the Airtec for the good word on the AAD, and here is what they had to say:
From time to time CYPRES is approached for a special automatic activation solution. Generally specific activation parameters are desired, activation speed and altitude for example. The Stratos CYPRES 2 is unique and especially developed for the Red Bull Stratos project.
To cover the ascend, exit and jump characteristics, it bases on a combination of Military CYPRES 2 with its wide operation range and dedicated altitude setting and the Aircrew CYPRES 2 with its specific arming characteristics. The display shows the activation altitude (pressure) setting and a static line is attached to trigger the unit on exit.
The technology inside is the result of a smart engineering. Our specialists took 2 years for development and continued to optimize the unit during the whole mission proceeding. 4 major issues had to be solved to cover the extreme environmental conditions:
- Temperature to minus 60 degrees Celsius. Thorough tests down to minus 160 degrees Celsius showed a correct function of the cutter
- Gamma- and Beta Radiation. They could destroy the advanced micro electronics. A special protection shielding with lead elements was constructed to cover the processing unit.
- Supersonic Speed, Lateral Acceleration’s of more than 17 Gs in combination with pressure readings. A complete unfamiliar area in science – we keep our pioneer knowledge secret.
- Low air pressure.
Because of all calculations and tests we did, our physicists and technicians were finally sure that the low air pressure at altitude would not affect the CYPRES calculations at activation altitudes. The air pressure is measured in millibars. At sea level the pressure is approximately 1000 millibars. At 18000 feet it is 500 millibars. So that is the normal skydiving range. At Felix exit altitude it was below 1 millibar.
If he wouldn’t have been able to stop his spin, he would have been under his reserve at approximately 1500 feet over New Mexico. All the CYPRES team sends their congratulations.