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Red Bull, Baumgartner, NASA publicity jump

by darinlhammond (writer), Rexburg, Idaho, October 20, 2012

Baumgartner Leaps from Space

Baumgartner's space jump mimics Star Trek (2009)

I understand that crossing certain boundaries opens our human experience to new possibilities. However, boundary crossings have both costs and rewards. I see the value in, perhaps, rescuing an astronaut from space, but I question the underlying assumption that this should be a priority in the face of other important agenda items. Even if you value space flight, what is gained with this stunt if we don't even have a shuttle program to actively get people up there? At any rate, I question the likelihood that such a rescue would be a priority.

I also question the motive behind the Red Bull movie. Seriously, this whole elaborate stunt is to test equipment? No, I would suggest that this is a publicity campaign to make NASA seem cool again, a gratuitous solicitation of funding. The public has exhibited a marked lack of interest in NASA of late, and this jump from space was the Youtube viral hit to put the lagging program back on the map.

In fact, Baumgartner's thrill ride smacks of the jumps from space in the Star Trek (2009) movie, J. J. Abrams' style. They mooched the plot line. The ploy worked brilliantly in the original series - Star Trek is cool so NASA is hip too. The series began in 1966, and we landed on the moon in '69. SciFi promotes NASA, and Baumgartner pulled off the ultimate Star Trek stunt.

The claim that the suit needed testing is just silly. Our technology here on the planet is sufficient to test a space suit - we found the God Particle in July for Heaven's sake. Scientists at Cern must be snickering right now.

I am a lover of science, tech, and the space program. I just have doubts about this movie ... I mean test.

About the Writer

I am a former English professor, turned writer, but my secret passions include web design, social media, technology, Spanish, neuroscience, construction, landscaping, and bonsai on the side. I love to blog at, and I also write for BC Blog, Technorati, Blog Critics, and Social Media Today.
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6 comments on Red Bull, Baumgartner, NASA publicity jump

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By Randy Mitchell on October 20, 2012 at 01:41 pm

I agree with you that we've had more than enough space suit technology for a long while that's battle-tested. I think they wanted to see if being outside, and going this fast, the suit would hold.

Personally, I wish the Space Program would ramp up again, full steam. If America had continued with the pace it was on during the Apollo missions, we'd be on Mars now.

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By darinlhammond on October 20, 2012 at 08:14 pm

I agree with you, but I think they lack widespread public support, after the past 20 years frought with mistakes and tragic explosions.

Actually, I think the stunt may just work, even though I find it silly. Given the popularity across the web, and especially on Youtube, there may be a groundswell of support building again for NASA. Maybe they needed a PR stunt to get things moving again.

I found your comment engaging, and I appreciate it. I hope the best for the Space Program.

p.s. Maybe they need a name change with such a severe image problem. What would you remame NASA if you could? I would think about naming it something with "star" in it.

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By Randy Mitchell on October 21, 2012 at 11:19 am

A name change is an interesting idea, but, NASA would be hard to change given their long history. Any kind of dangerous discovery like space travel will always be wrought with danger and problems, but, well worth it when the advantages in science and engineering are considered.

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By Inmyredhead on October 21, 2012 at 10:13 pm

I give Red Bull huge kudos for this undertaking and show of American spirit, ingenuity, and pride. This is something our goverment could not accomplish. I don't know, but I'm pretty sure the real world experience is unlike any thing we could have gained from a simulation here on terra firma. And, ok... maaaybe we could have. But the cost to do something like that would have probably been the same or more so why not get the real life scenario and true to life results?

I disagree with the idea that overall, we have been uninterrested and bored with NASA. I think it's a terrible waste of our current govt. to have dropped the ball on the program. To me, it's an iconic entity that America was once (and always) very proud of. And before I get politcal, I will stop there. :-)

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By darinlhammond on October 22, 2012 at 08:22 am

Thank you so much for your comment and disagreement. This kind of argument is valuable, and I appreciate that you took the time to really consider my article.

So, if I'm reading you right, the net gain here is "American spirit, ingenuity, and pride." Correct? Testing the suit would also be important, but less so?

On your final point, I agree that the government is partially but not wholely responsible for the floundering Space Program. If the support were widespread enough, the public would demand that something be done. Maybe it is there, but I don't see the support, and apparently the government doesn't see it either.

Again I support the Space Program and as for Red Bull, it's their money. I doubt, however, your connecting Red Bull with the motive of American spirit and pride. Their primary motive is money, and I agree that it shows ingenuity.

Thank you again, and I look forward to hearing from you.

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By riginal on December 16, 2012 at 08:14 am

I agree with your article 100%. Happy the guy landed safe. That's great. He proved an expensive point. For a brief time exhaultation. A young guy under pressure named Jesus-minus jump suit-was heralded on earth from a different perspective. People still marvel and worship at this/his feat? I wonder if one day red bull will rocket their same guy at the MINIMUM misery height round our planet to absorb and record his feelings? Sure we'll get to live on another planet one day, Your recent comments will be dust? Or maybe future generations will gag and cough on your comments, truth is just so bloody hard to swallow even when you're wearing a mask of scientific progress, ignorant of the fact that mankind's 'shortfalls' could do with a radical 'once or twice' reconfiguration of what's important in the present? BEFORE we launch to new horizons of space housing you reckon we should clean up our own backyard and pull down the dividing fence of indifference and hostility? Naah sir...the media would yawn!

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