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Supersonic Skydiver

832 Views 27 Replies 10 Participants Last post by  Soopahmahn
Skydiver preparing for 120,000-foot supersonic fall -

Anyone want to speculate on the physical effects of breaking the sound barrier on a human? I'm not entirely sure I understand what happens - the sound waves of your passing are in essence building up behind your axis of flight right? So isn't it dangerous to come back from supersonic? Depending on the altitude at which crossing that threshold occurs, there would be more or less pressure built up behind you, so I could see that wreaking havoc with his parachute or maybe tossing him around a bit extra?

Kudos to Red Bull too :yesway:
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If I had to guess, I'd suggest he's breaking mach1 outside of the atmosphere. When he re-enters he'd slow down to terminal velocity, the parachute will be opening in the same conditions a regular parachute opens, won't it?
So he will probably reach and maintain terminal velocity at some point, but the terminal velocity will change as he falls. And since I'm going to assume he'll be traveling faster than "ground terminal", he will slow down, but he may be going much faster than usual when he gets there.
Sure, his terminal velocity will reduce - but wouldn't it reduce to the usual earth terminal velocity? The point being he'd slow substantially from his maximum speed to something more manageable and be fairly safe when opening his parachute? No more in danger than any other sky diver at least.
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