Vol. 15 - December 2000 / January 2001 - English Edition The Magazine from Skydive World

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skyXtreme - German Editon
Not just a translation but some different content too!

Photo © 2000 Robbie Culver
Photo © 2000 Robbie Culver


The StratoQuest

There is a race going on between two skydivers who want to break new world records and fullfill the dream of their lives with a high altitude jump from the stratosphere. One is French skydiver Michel Fournier, who's "Grand Saut" had to be postponed in September 2000 [see our August title story].
In the USA, another world record high altitude skydive attempt and research project is in its formative stages. World champion skydiver and professional pilot, Cheryl Stearns wants to see her dream come true this time next year when she intents to make a balloon drop and set the record for the world's highest skydive!

In late October of this year, Cheryl started to prepare to jump from the mind-boggling altitude of 130,000 feet [24 miles] above the Earth. To accomplish her goal, Cheryl Stearns has brought together a team of experts for what she has titled, "Stratoquest". There are skilled people in every aspect of the project on the team including experts in high-altitude balloons, pressure suits and high-elevation medicine.

Cheryl Stearns
   Photo courtesy of
   Cheryl Stearns

To successfully complete this astounding feat, Cheryl will be wearing a specialized pressure suit because the jump will start in sub-orbital space. This pressure suit is specially customized and perfectly adapted for her unique quest. Such an outfit is necessary because there will be so little air for Cheryl to fall through during the first minute of the descent that she will rapidly hit speeds between mach 1.3 and 1.5 before she starts to slow down in the thicker air of the lower atmosphere. The lower she gets, the more air resistance and the lower her terminal velocity will be. She will actually be a little slower at 10,000 feet than a "normal" skydiver because of her large suit and extra gear. And if there were no air resistance, she'd keep accelerating at almost 32 feet [9,8 meters] per second.
You may wonder how all this is accomplished without burning up in the high altitude? Stearns will not burn up from air friction because she'll not be moving around the Earth at the high orbital speeds such as with space shuttles. The only reason she'll exceed the speed of sound is because there's not enough air in the stratosphere to slow her down. In fact, she won't even have enough air to help her orient her body to avoid dangerous tumbling. That is the reason why Cheryl has started training now, a full year before she hopes to make the jump.

Continued on Page 2

>>> ESPN pulls the plug on skysurfing! <<<

After six years, fourteen pro events, a record event purse of $75,000, an overall cash total of $392,000 and 100+ hours of global TV exposure, ESPN has decided to pull the plug on skysurfing or any other form of skydiving in the X-Games. Skysurfing is being replaced by downhill BMX bicycle racing. Read more on our SSI Pro Tour page.

>>> skyXtreme's New Year's Giveaway <<<
Check back at the beginning of February 2001
for another skyXtreme Giveaway!

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Last Update: January 9, 2001

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