On a lighter note: A pear-shaped lady would have done better as a supersonic “jumpanaut”

by | Oct 15, 2012 | On a Lighter Note, Science | 0 comments

We, at the Flightglobal Hyperbola blog, give our heartfelt congratulations to the very brave 43-year-old Austrian “jumpanaut” Felix Baumgartner who forgot the old RAF adage “never jump out of a serviceable aircraft” (or balloon for that matter) when he broke the sound barrier in a freefall dive made from 128,100 feet on 14 October over Roswell, New Mexico.   Baumgartner subsequently made a successful parachute landing after the record breaking “flight” which occured exactly 65 years after Chuck Yeager’s first Mach 1 flight in the Bell X-1.

So can this aircraftless velocity record ever be broken?  Actually, we think another pressure-suited ‘jumpanaut’ could fly even faster.  Our very basic knowledge of transonic aerodynamics and “area ruling” (the trick of making airflow-facing cross-sectional areas change smoothly e.g. without a sudden change of frontal area) suggests that, under this, a small shouldered big-hipped pear-shaped lady (she needs small shoulders to account for her arms) would have done even better than Barmgartner’s 833.9mph (Mach 1.24) velocity.  And if she had a pointy head with a thick bull neck even better! 

Sorry to be sexist at this time ladies and gentlemen, but as Scottie might have said on Star Trek:  “Ye cannae change the laws of physics Cap’n…or aerodynamics for that matter.”

Of course, finding such a woman with the right attributes who is actually willing to do such a dangerous activity will be difficult. Somewhat ungallantly, your correspondent briefly thought of suggesting his wife for the job, though, of course, he rejected this on several counts: she is scared of heights, her head is not pointy enough, and, finally, because your correspondent actually wants to carry on living.  She, no doubt, would have insisted he left the capsule first…and without a parachute. J

About Seradata

Seradata produce the renowned SpaceTrak Launch & Satellite Database. Trusted by 100 of the world’s leading Space organisations, SpaceTrak is a fully queryable database used for market analysis, failure/risk assessment, spectrum analysis and space situational awareness (SSA).

For more information go to www.seradata.com/spacetrak

Related Articles

ESA confirms that Sentinel 1B’s radar is still knocked out by power issue

Sentinel-1B, a key Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) satellite of the ESA/EU Copernicus Earth observation and monitoring programme, has failed in Read more

To the relief of many, NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope is launched successfully by Ariane 5

European launch provider Arianespace successfully launched an Ariane 5 ECA vehicle from Kourou Space Centre, French Guiana, at 1220 GMT Read more

SSTL of Guildford, Surrey, gets order from Satellite Vu

The Guildford UK-based satellite construction firm SSTL (Surrey Satellite Technology Limited),  which is part of Airbus Space and Defence, has Read more

NASA IXPE telescope mission is finally launched by a Falcon 9

A Falcon 9v1.2 Block 5 rocket successfully launched the IXPE - Imaging X-ray Polarimetry Explorer mission for NASA on 8 Read more

Airbus selected to build ARIEL astronomical mission for ESA

European Space Agency (ESA) has selected Airbus DS to design and manufacture its fourth "Medium-class" Cosmic Vision mission. The Atmospheric Remote-sensing Read more

NASA gives Intuitive Machines contract to carry rovers and scientific payloads to lunar surface

NASA has awarded the Houson, Texas-based firm Intuitive Machines a US$77 million contract to deliver scientific and rover payloads to Read more

SS-520 (Two Stage version) makes suborbital plasma science flight from Svalbard

A suborbital/sounding rocket launch of the Japanese SS-520 (Two Stage Suborbital) rocket was launched from the Svalbard Rocket Range in Read more

UAE announces Venus and asteroids space mission

Having achieved a major success with its Hope probe mission to orbit Mars, the United Arab Emirates is to launch Read more

Categories

Archives

Tags