What’s a 64-year old man planning to do with a phone-booth sized round capsule and a three-layered towering balloon? Well, he’s preparing to take-off, and make an ascent of 40 kilometers above the ground, seated in this capsule filled with pure oxygen (to be replaced with nitrogen when the door shuts). After a two and a half hour journey towards space, he plans to step out of the booth while he’s at the edge of the Earth’s atmosphere, and free fall, before he opens his helium balloon which will bring him back to Earth in 15 minutes. Take-off and landing are scheduled from the plains of Northern Saskatchewan. Exciting? You bet it is… He was scheduled to do this flight on Sunday – in what could be termed as a historic moment in skydiving and even in space science; it seems to be postponed to the early hours of this Monday morning. I blogged about this event a couple of days back and am now waiting with bated breath… for Michel Fournier, a retired French army officer to fulfill his dream, nurtured and fueled for 20 long years, an inspiring human feat – breaking records, coming down at break-neck speed that even breaks through sound barriers.
Oh, just moments ago, news has broken that a problem with the oxygen generator has compelled the balloonist to postpone his skydiving attempt until Tuesday, provided the weather will hold up; if not, folks, we’ll have to wait until the weekend.