Silicon Valley chief’s meteoric rise… in just two hours!

The world knows too well of Google’s climb to fame… and fortune. But senior management executive (VP) Alan Eustace, at this renowned Silicon Valley company, can now proudly boast about the personal accomplishment literally under his belt. His daredevil feat yesterday has nothing to do with Google. The stupendous success with his “wild, wild ride”, going up into the stratosphere was certainly an engineering marvel, with meticulous teamwork, expert planning and execution; but it also speaks to human endeavors sans boundaries! Alan, congratulations!

AlanEustace_adventurer

Photo Courtesy: The New York Times

With his ascend to an altitude of 135,890 feet, Alan broke the record of 128,100 feet set by Felix Baumgartner two years ago on October 14, 2012.

Wearing a specially designed spacesuit with a life support system, this adventurer – a veteran aircraft pilot and parachutist –  took off at dawn from an abandoned, desolate airport runway near Roswell, New Mexico. Tied to a 35,000 cubic feet helium-filled balloon, the computer scientist ascended at a speed of 1600 feet per minute, reaching the stratosphere in a little over two hours. Marveling the darkness of space, he began his descent soon after, and what a free-fall from 25 miles above the surface of the earth! Alan Eustace did not hear nor feel the boom as he crossed the speed of sound. After releasing himself from the balloon with the aid of a small explosive that caused the boom heard by those on earth, he was climbing down at the rate of 822 miles per hour. The contraption designed by his technical team included a small parachute that opened up first; and four-five minutes later the larger, main parachute helped him glide back to earth. In case you’re wondering if Google Earth or any of Google’s multi-billion dollar operations had anything to do with this personal feat, then the answer is ‘no’. Despite Google’s offer to assist him, Alan was opposed to the idea. This was his own endeavor, not for the media to turn it into a marketing event.

Some others have endeavored similar flights… The story of Michael Fournier is also rather interesting. 🙂

Kudos to the spirit of adventure! As the director of competition at the United States Parachute Association has stated, “I think they’re putting a little lookout tower at the edge of space that the common man can share”. With, or without Google, Alan Eustace has made his mark in ‘search’… of space. 😉

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