1. How does Baumgartner slow his velocity so that the parachute can open up?

  2. What is Baumgartner's speed just before his parachute opens?

  3. What causes his speed to slow down just before the chute opens?

  4. Is it air-resistance or is it altering his position from pencil to delta?

The reason for this question is the supposition his body can endure only a maximum of "anti-force`" when the chute opens up.


Yes and yes. A skydiver slows down due to increased air resistance. Because the jump was initiated so high in the atmosphere, there is both the thickening of the air and the change in position from head down to belly down. Both serve to increase air resistance and decrease speed.

The speed just prior to pulling the chute is harder to determine in this particular case. However, if we assume he slowed to terminal velocity with a belly-down position (the speed at which the upward force due to drag and downward force due to gravity balance giving no net acceleration) then he was going roughly 120 mph (see this Wikipedia page).


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