Space Dive (2012) Movie Script

Sunday 14th October.
Mission control. We're
in perfect conditions for launch.
The world is watching...
To expedite the process... a man in a space suit
flies a balloon to 128,000 feet.
We are away. Felix is away.
At the edge of space,
he leaves the capsule,
stands on a tiny step...
..and jumps.
He becomes the first person to fall
faster than the speed of sound.
But although the world watched,
it didn't see the whole story.
How seconds earlier, as he fell,
Felix Baumgartner lost control
and came close to disaster.
What is he doing?
He's spinning, isn't he?
How on the way up, he was nearly
forced to call off the whole jump.
We have an emergency here.
We could very well be cutting him
down any minute.
And how four years of struggles
and setbacks
pushed the mission
to the brink of collapse.
Two flights, two mission aborts -
stop selling me excuses.
What's going on?
He had the opportunity
to get trained properly.
He never took advantage of it.
Sometimes feels like
it's just too much.
This is the untold story
of how a team of scientists
and sky-divers...
Rock and roll!
..took a giant leap...
..and stunned the world.
I had this dream
when I was a little kid.
And I'm still having it
two or three times a month.
Always the same dream, you know,
I'm just walking out here
on the street,
I run for a couple of feet,
then I take off.
It was always a show-off flight
to my friends,
cos they don't believe it.
I'm always telling them,
"OK, wait until you see this."
You can do backflips, front flips,
you can do spins,
you can do whatever you want.
Then coming back after a couple
of minutes and telling them,
"See, I told you I can fly."
Felix Baumgartner
is gripped by an obsession.
He wants to fly.
Higher, further, faster
than any human has ever dared.
But to realise that dream,
he needs to break a record
that has stood
for more than fifty years.
In 1960, test pilot Joe Kittinger
volunteered for a mission
to test survival at the edge
of the Earth's atmosphere.
Protected by just a pressure suit,
he flew a balloon
beyond 100,000 feet.
Not only did he survive the flight,
at the edge of space,
he did something extraordinary.
Joe fell 19 miles back to earth.
His feat was so dangerous
and technically difficult
that it has never been matched.
Before Felix can
take on HIS near-space mission,
he needs to be trained.
Only one man has the skills
and experience for the job.
Retired Colonel...Joe Kittinger.
I think the first week after my jump
I got a phone call from a guy
wanting to beat my record.
And monthly since then, for 50 years
I've been getting calls.
99% of them
have no idea of the challenge.
Joe has come out of retirement
to help Felix break his record
and become the first person
to freefall faster
than the speed of sound.
It's kind of a weird thought
when you look at all these
supersonic planes.
And when I do my jump,
I'm travelling at the same speed.
Well, nobody's ever done it.
I can't estimate, but it's going to
be the dynamics, aeronautics,
CG changes, turbulence.
Felix really doesn't
have the experience
and the background that I had.
But he'll be going five miles higher
than what I jumped from
so I've got to be extra intense
at looking at how he's doing.
When I go supersonic speed,
I almost become an aeroplane.
You're a bomb.
A bomb?
You're a bomb.
I want to be an aeroplane,
not a bomb!
You're a bomb that can manoeuvre.
But I was born to fly.
That's right, you were born to fly.
And you'd better fly too!
Felix has already turned his
obsession with flying into a career.
He is a professional BASE jumper.
He's set records for the highest
jump from a building...
..and the lowest.
But for this mission,
Felix needs to jump from 20 miles
higher than he has ever been before.
Just getting there
requires a multi-million dollar
space programme.
Screw it in, screw it in.
It's still got to go this way.
A team of 20 engineers
and scientists
is working on the technology to fly
Felix beyond the stratosphere.
We're trying to take a human being
up into space
and have him come back safely.
I've got a diagram here.
I call it a plumbing diagram -
we're space plumbers.
All the way over.
The man in charge is Art Thompson.
Oh, my God!
This is going to be big, isn't it?!
Art has worked on rocket planes
for NASA
and stealth bombers
for the US military.
But for this mission, he's working
for an Austrian drinks company.
You really got to kind of hand it
to them that they took on
this commitment to do, in essence,
a privately funded space programme.
But Red Bull's budget
of 3.5 million pounds
comes with something
these engineers aren't used to -
a 12-month deadline.
We've got schedules to make!
We've got big schedules to make!
Despite the lack of time, Art's
ideas for the project are ambitious.
It starts out really simple
as a napkin sketch in the middle
of the night
and eventually
that ends up becoming more.
It's a technical beast
that keeps growing.
Just like Joe's day,
the only way up for Felix
is via the oldest aircraft of all -
a balloon.
It's almost like the space programme
going full circle again.
It started with the balloon,
we've come back to the balloon.
But this is no ordinary balloon.
At nearly 30 million cubic feet,
it's the biggest ever used
for a manned flight.
One tenth as thick
as a polythene bag
but strong enough to carry the space
capsule that Art is building.
At launch,
it will be filled with helium
until it's taller
than a fifty-storey building.
It's amazing that this
piece of plastic, that is
no thicker than a dry cleaner bag,
is going to hold up all this weight.
At around 63,000 feet, it will
pass through the Armstrong line.
Beyond this point,
the lack of pressure
would be deadly without protection.
As it rises, the gas will expand
until the balloon
is the width of a football field.
It will take three hours to carry
Felix 24 miles above the earth.
Getting him there is hard enough.
Keeping him alive is even harder.
We're talking about the medical
and physiological considerations
of an extreme altitude jump.
Felix and Joe
meet the project's medical team.
We have to go through the what-if's
to understand what our choices are.
It includes a former astronaut
and the world's leading expert
on altitude sickness.
This is what happens in the body.
The CO2,
partial pressure of oxygen...
The doctors have identified a series
of high-altitude dangers.
First, a life-threatening condition
called hypoxia.
Definition of hypoxia.
It's a deficiency of oxygen.
These are the symptoms.
You may get impaired efficiency,
drowsiness, poor judgement,
visual blurring, extreme fatigue,
you're not really functional
at that point.
But there's a bigger threat -
the lack of atmospheric pressure
above the Armstrong line.
Ebulism. Definition -
tissue vaporization. It's dramatic.
It's life-threatening.
Above the Armstrong line,
you don't have the pressure
of the atmosphere holding the gas
in your blood stream.
The gas is trying to find
the fastest path out of your body.
Out of every orifice you have,
you'll start to ooze fluids.
Your body wants to swell up
twice its size.
It's like the worst possible
horror film.
We can show you a video of a guy
that had that in a chamber,
suit pressurised, it becomes
disconnected from a life support.
He remembered his tongue
was boiling.
'You're so far away from anything,
any medical treatment,
'any help at all.
If something goes wrong,'
you're by yourself.
That is really scary.
This is what I'm thinking about
all the time.
Where do you want to abort? At what
level of risk do you want to abort?
Only way to ensure his safety
is stay on the ground.
He's not going to do that.
We're talking about risk factors -
that's a crock.
We're going to do this project.
Let's just get out of this,
accept a little bit of risk
and press on.
'The consensus is that
he can survive the experience.'
I hope we're right.
Felix has one key piece
of safety equipment
that he has to learn to trust -
his pressurised space suit.
Joe takes him to be fitted
at the same company that made
his space suit 50 years ago.
It's a piece of art.
It's all hand done.
She just assembled these two pieces,
you can not see where
she just sewed that together.
It's impossible.
I think it's right there.
Where? No, I don't think so!
Cos I can't find it either.
It will take a team of people
more than a year
to build the customised suit.
A single flaw could be deadly.
You have to be very exact
about everything.
If you did do something wrong,
it could be someone's life,
you know, so...
But they check us much too much.
Space suits are designed for
protection, not for free-falling.
This is a whole new world for Felix.
Ready to do this?
Screw it in, clockwise. Screw it in.
Run it up to 3 PSI.
The suit is inflated with air,
creating a protective cocoon
around the body.
Can I jump?
This pressurised air
keeps you alive at altitude
but makes movement difficult.
Three, two, one.
Get full flex. All the way back.
Do that again.
'It's hard to describe how it feels.
'Your movements are totally limited.'
Is that hard? Is that OK?
'You can't breathe
that easy any more.
'It's difficult, you know?'
You don't feel a damn thing
in that suit.
When I go for a skydive,
I want the air
floating around my body.
I want to feel it,
I want to feel the speed,
I want to feel the temperature.
Work with the air, use it,
so you can move your body
while falling down.
'So first time wearing
the pressure suit,
'pumped up like this,'
it was like,
"Where's my freedom? It's gone!"
Felix will have to learn how to
freefall in a rigid pressure suit.
The first person
ever to do that was Joe.
Hey, Joe. Remember this?
Yeah. Looks familiar.
It's a picture of Joe
going out of the gondola.
To me it was a lot simpler,
a lot easier.
I'd worn pressure suits a long time.
I'd flown aeroplanes
in pressure suits
so I was used to flying
with a pressure suit.
I'd got used to how uncomfortable
it is.
Yeah, and I'm not a fighter pilot.
I didn't spend much time
in a pressure suit
so that's the big thing.
You are an attitude.
Back in '55, '56, '57,
space was something that no-one
ever thought would happen.
Some people actually said
we could never go there.
When Joe began his mission,
NASA was just being formed
and space travel
was still a thing of the future.
His jump was part of a research
programme called Project Excelsior.
I wasn't interested in skydiving,
I wasn't interested
in setting records.
I was interested in getting escape
systems for pilots and astronauts.
I never get tired of watching
the footage.
It's incredible. I don't either.
It's just incredible.
Oh, you know,
it was the most significant thing
to happen in my life,
that parachute jump was.
It's just as vivid in my mind today
as it was the day I did it.
On 16th August 1960,
Joe left earth on a mission
to see if a pilot could survive
an emergency bailout
from the edge of space.
His every word
was recorded for research.
What I have here really
is a transcript
and this is what I said.
I said,
"Overhead it's black, probably
because of the polarization.
"Beneath me I can see the clouds.
Quite fantastic."
The balloon carried Joe
19 miles above the earth.
It's just a beautiful,
beautiful setting.
But then all of a sudden you realise
that it's hostile. VERY hostile.
As he was preparing to jump,
Joe made a terrifying discovery...
..he had a hole
in one of his gloves.
My hand started swelling
twice it's normal size.
I was really distressed.
I thought, "Well, if I tell
the ground that I have this problem,
"they're going to make me abort."
But I was there as a test pilot,
and my job now was to jump.
I took a deep breath...
I stood up, moved to the door...
I said "Lord, take care of me now."
"Awfully bright. Cold in my legs.
"Can't get my breath."
Joe ignored the pain in his hand
and recorded everything
he could feel and see as he fell.
I said, "Gosh, I'm not
accelerating very fast,"
cos you have nothing
to define speed.
There's no signposts going by,
there's nothing visual at all.
In fact, Joe was falling at 614 mph,
just short of the speed of sound.
"70,000. Beautiful.
"Hit it in 35 secs.
"60,000. 50,000."
The further I fell,
the happier I got,
because I knew I was going back down
to a safer environment.
And that's a nice thought.
At 18,000 feet, after a
four-and-a-half minute freefall,
Joe's chute opened.
"Oh, gee, that sure feels good,
that cold air.
"Ah, boy. Thank you, God, thank you.
"Thank you for protecting me during
that long descent. Thank you, God."
Joe's injured hand
eventually healed.
The data from his freefall helped
develop a parachute escape system
used by high-altitude pilots.
Now, Joe has to train Felix
to do what he did,
only faster and further.
It was the highlight of my life.
Until I have to beat
Felix's new record.
And I know how to do it now,
cos they've got all the equipment.
I don't know if Felix told you,
but I'm his backup.
If he breaks his leg or something
I'm going to be his backup
for the jump.
It's not commonly known,
but, uh, that's the agreement
that Felix and I have.
I don't ever want to see this
like this again.
You stretch your lines out.
From now on, I don't want to see
a cord like this.
C'mon now, we're better than that.
Back at mission headquarters,
Art and the team are struggling
with the capsule.
Three, two, one.
We'll see what the load cell says.
Even simple tests hit problems.
The sensor's messed up.
This project is so mentally,
physically, intense...
..a lot of my crew is convinced
I'm trying to kill them.
The capsule's engineering
is more complicated
than anyone could have predicted.
The project
is falling behind schedule
and Red Bull's budget has trebled
to nearly 10 million.
Engineering's a process of discovery
and we discover things take
longer, or are more complex...
It sends over a project manager from
Austria to whip the team into shape.
We're still processing
We discovered that we need
another electrical engineer
and a technician,
which we don't have right now.
'It's just two different worlds
How can a marketing person
help somebody managing
an engineering project?
We can't necessarily hire
somebody to do the job
if we don't have information.
It's their money.
Red Bull can move in and take over,
but they can't speed it up.
Red Bull insists
there can be no more delays.
I hate standing up early.
Which is not early for most people,
but eight o'clock to me
is like the middle of the night.
Felix's training in the pressure
suit begins at a facility
used by the military to simulate
conditions on the edge of space.
Overseeing the test
is Joe's colleague, Mike Todd.
'It's really a training exercise
for Felix.'
He has a limited suit experience
and the more experience
we can get him in the suit,
the more confident
he's going to be at altitude.
Sir, whenever you're ready,
go ahead and reach up to the top
and bring your visor down slowly.
The suit's flexibility
is still causing Felix concern.
Now he'll find out what it's like
working in it for several hours.
'I've seen people struggle
with pressure suits.'
'You're in your own
little environment,
'it's a little plastic bubble,
'and you've always got something
touching your skin some place
'which reminds you that you are.'
He's coming up.
Felix is depressurised
to 76,000 feet -
way beyond the Armstrong Line.
It's getting hot in here, Tom.
It's getting hot in here.
The water bubbling
is what would happen to his blood
without protection.
The higher you go,
the more the suit inflates,
so it's getting harder to move.
Plus your neck ring
is lifting your head.
INTERCOM: Everything looks good.
How are you doing?
It really hurts my stomach.
Got stomach pain now.
'It's getting hot and cold
inside your body.'
You can feel how you start sweating.
Your respiration rate
has definitely changed.
'You feel claustrophobic, you know?
'I was really close to telling the
guys, "Hey, get me out of this suit.
'"I can't deal with that any more."
'I was really fighting against it,
you know?
'Fighting against my own fear,
fighting against my own mind.'
'Everybody's counting on you.'
Everyone thinks you're a really
cool guy, you can deal with it,
and, I mean, I have to accomplish
a jump from 130,000ft,
breaking the speed of sound,
and I can't even stand
being in the suit on the ground.
Do we have experience from
other pilots? What do they say?
Sure. They do feel
more and more confident,
the more and more they do it,
but ah, it's a learning curve.
And you're getting it.
Felix's anxiety about the suit
brings back uncomfortable memories
for Mike Todd.
40 years ago, he worked
with another civilian
attempting to jump
from extreme altitude.
Nick Piantanida
was a 33-year-old skydiver
who had dreams
of beating Joe's record.
Nick was going at 125,000 feet.
David Clark supplied him
with a pressure suit
and we supplied him
with a parachute.
Didn't quite have the backing
that we have on this project,
nor did he have the experience.
Like Felix, Nick had never
worked in a pressure suit.
Despite intense training,
he never felt comfortable in it.
On 1st May, 1966,
he took off in his balloon.
'Testing, 1, 2, 3.
'1, 2, 3.'
A recording of his communication
with mission control has survived.
Two hours into his ascent,
something went terribly wrong.
'What was that, Nick?'
Emergency, cut him off.
He was probably up around
50,000 feet and some way or another,
the visor was either opened
accidentally or intentionally,
we really don't know.
The people on the ground
immediately cut the balloon away
from the gondola.
By the time they got to him,
they found him
outside of the gondola
with the visor partially open.
Nick was in a coma
caused by hypoxia -
a lack of oxygen to the brain.
He died four months later.
'Am...I the next one who fails?'
'I'm 40 years old,
and I want to get older, you know?'
All right, let's go.
The scientists want to analyse
the aerodynamics of Felix in flight.
It's the kind of low-altitude jump
that Felix is used to...
..but wearing the suit,
even unpressurised,
makes it a challenge.
It's like watching a hawk in flight.
I deal with aircraft,
and we make machines
that do certain flight dynamics.
In this case, the machine is Felix.
At this altitude, Felix falls
at around 100 miles an hour.
Jumping from 24 miles up,
he'll be in a near-vacuum.
The lack of resistance means
he'll just keep accelerating.
Faster than a jumbo jet
after 25 seconds.
Moments later,
faster than a .45 calibre bullet.
And after 35 seconds,
he'll exceed 700 miles an hour.
As he passes through
the sound barrier,
the team want Felix to be
in the delta position,
tracking head down.
They think this is will be the
safest position to go supersonic.
But it's a theory
that has never been tested.
We're putting Felix into a condition
that really has never been done
and has never been documented
for sure,
so we don't know what happens
to the body at the speed of sound.
What they do know is when an object
like a plane goes supersonic,
it is catching up with and pushing
through its own sound waves.
In early jets,
this caused extreme vibration.
No-one knows
what it will do to Felix.
As he pushes closer
to the sound barrier,
he may potentially have parts
of his body that are supersonic
while other parts
of his body are not.
You end up with a vibration
that could cause physical problems,
because your body is very
susceptible to vibration
and wave patterns,
so if you get the wrong pattern,
you can cause internal damage
to organs.
We've created computer models
trying to see what we think
is going to happen,
but after doing
all the math,
it's still a guess.
The test jumps help Felix
feel safer in the suit.
But back on the ground,
the more research the team does,
the more risks
they have to deal with.
So what's your preference right now?
Is it feet first or head first?
He wants to go head first.
Just to slide up to the door...
The latest is a high-altitude
phenomenon called flat spin,
something Joe experienced
on one of his early jumps.
'When I was freefalling,
all of a sudden'
I had this violent, uh...
And it was so violent,
I could not pull my arms in,
I couldn't do anything,
I was just...paralysed.
Joe's camera captured
the violence of his spin.
Matter of fact, I spun at 120 rpm.
I was unconscious.
I could have died.
Spinning with your head
at the centre of rotation
means the G-force pulls
the blood out of your brain,
causing a blackout.
Spinning with your feet
at the centre means
the blood rushes
into your brain,
causing what's known
as a redout.
Both could be lethal.
So the whole team throw themselves
at one problem -
how to stop a supersonic spin.
'How much of a spin is too much
for you to recover from?
'Nobody really knows.'
Stop, stop, stop, stop!
It's stopped.
Was that fast enough that time?
'When I'm spinning so fast'
that I can't bring my arms in,
that's too much of a spin.
That was my first take on it.
But I didn't know how much that was,
so I went up and skydived
and I tried different things,
and I took a G-meter up,
see how much the Gs spun.
Skydiver Luke Aikens
tests lots of systems,
but can't find one that will cope
with the force Felix will achieve.
Then he has a brainwave.
Supersonic bombs use
a small stabilisation chute
known as a drogue
to land point-first.
Maybe it could be adapted
to help Felix.
So I'm out of control,
fire the drogue, boom.
It just grabs you
and flips you right-side up.
Pretty amazing how well that works.
So now I'm going
to spin this thing around.
If he's spinning about this fast
for six seconds,
we came up with a device that will
automatically fire the drogue.
You'll see the light
come on in the drogue,
boom, the drogue fires.
The drogue chute is a last resort.
Felix will only use it
in an emergency.
If something gets bad,
he has that option.
If not, we never see that thing,
and all this hard work
is for nothing.
Felix continues his series
of low-altitude test jumps.
His confidence in the suit
is building.
Until it all goes very wrong.
What is going on here?
That's his parachute!
Felix has accidentally cut away
his main parachute
and now he can't find the handle
for his reserve.
What's that and what's that?
At 2,000 feet, just seconds
from it being critical,
he finds it.
Here, we've got to go get him.
We've got to go get him.
The unfamiliar suit and parachute
meant Felix had pulled
the wrong handle.
I thought, "What's going on
with my handle?"
And then I figured,
"Hey, this is the reserve
cut-away handle..."
And you were getting
close to the ground by then.
I saw the ground coming up,
and I thought...! Yeah.
"That's going to hurt." Yeah!
Scared me.
I know!
It scared the ... out of me as well.
Trust me. Yeah.
Ahhh. Still alive.
Don't do that, OK?
No, I'm not.
All the safety relies
on the engineers, you know?
There are so many things
that I have no control of.
Stuff that I don't know.
I have to trust these guys.
The difference
between them and me is,
if they fail,
they don't lose their lives.
My biggest desire
is to keep Felix safe.
I feel like his life is in my hands,
and the last thing I want to do
is kill my friend, so...
The science team's
struggle with safety
is making the engineering
more complex.
And the technology
is still not ready.
The launch date is delayed,
and Felix arrives with a team
from Red Bull
for an emergency meeting.
We've been spending a lot money
and we are far behind
all the deadlines.
A lot of things are not working out
as they are supposed to be,
and this is...
Let's call it judgement day,
you know.
Art, even if he is my friend,
I can't afford to work like this
and that's why I strongly recommend
we take Art off
as project leader today.
It's not that we're
going to fire Art.
He just has to step back
to the second line.
We're going to take Patrick
as project leader.
But Art and his team have no idea
that he's about to be replaced
by his second-in-command.
Did you ride in with the crazy man?
Felix insists that the camera
stays outside the office
and the microphones are turned off.
'Just told him.'
We just told him.
Of course, he didn't like the idea,
but I'm so focused on the project,
that no matter what it takes,
I'm willing to do it
to make this happen.
Just when you think
you have it all figured out,
all of a sudden
you get another surprise.
It's the most complicated mess
I've ever been involved in.
Despite the chaos behind the scenes,
Red Bull isn't giving up.
..the daring and dangerous attempt
to break world records
that have stood...
You jumped out of a balloon
at 102,000ft?
Absolutely. Sure did.
What did that feel like?
What sounds like a plot of a
far-fetched Hollywood movie...
This year, the skydiver...
..going up 37km
into the sky and then jumping out.
Then I step off.
Within the first 30 seconds,
I'll reach the speed of sound.
Wow. Good luck... both of you
and we appreciate you joining us.
The whole world now
knows about Felix's jump.
'A friend of mine,
he built this stone for me as a gift
because it says "Born to fly" on that
stone, and now we put the stone
right in front of my house.
It says
"Born to fly" on it, so I love it.
Not so good.
If you lose your English,
just say I'm proud of my son.
Every time. When they ask you
something - do you think it's
dangerous? "I'm proud of my son."
How was he as a little kid?
I'm proud of my son.
Just say that.
I am proud of my son.
Back at base,
things are going from bad to worse.
Following Art's demotion,
the engineers are on the brink
of mutiny.
I don't approve of this leadership
change. It doesn't work for me.
And I don't believe it
works for the team.
You know, it may have made sense to
Red Bull but for us,
it hasn't been productive.
'I said I can't work under
those terms,
'so I'll be leaving on Wednesday.'
I give my resignation
from this team.
I come in later.
I'm kind of like the step-parent
who comes into the relationship and
all the kids are not really ready to
respect the instructions.
It doesn't matter
if they're right or wrong,
they're just there to push back
because you're not the one
who was here
when the rules were set originally.
So you're saying it's going to be
about three weeks, did you say?
No, about a month.
About a month? That's a concern.
Hey, Patrick?
My concern here on this is that
we've got a partial system,
we still don't have flight hardware.
It's going to take another month.
Is this just going to keep
going on indefinitely?
Why don't we have a complete
system two months ago?
Well, it's a little
behind the schedule
we had from five months ago but,
it's not nearly as far behind as
everything else on the project
from six or seven months ago.
All right, so there we have it.
There's a lot of work to be done
and it's very frustrating to be
kept out of the loop.
'I hate to be isolated, I do.
'This is what
they do to people in prison.'
After only a few weeks as technical
director, Patrick resigns.
Going through some of the things
we've got to accomplish today,
Art is back in charge.
And his team are back
working together.
My job is a hard job to fill.
I guess that's job
security in some ways.
I've got an incredible amount
of emotional and mental endurance.
We lost about six weeks
in the turmoil there.
We've got to make up for that time.
Let's go from here. You'll go
from that split right there. Hey-hey!
Three more times and we've got it.
We're working together,
the shop's working well.
We're getting things done.
It feels like we're back on track
as far
as it feels like we're back on track
as far as being a team.
Looks pretty good.
Progress! Progress. It's good.
The project is two years late
and 9 million over budget,
but at last it has a capsule
ready to be tested.
Now all it needs is a pilot.
Felix is back in training.
And that means he has to
confront his anxieties
about freefalling in the suit.
This time, he's jumping
with it pressurised.
This is supersmall. This really
sucks. Let's put the shoes...
I don't want to wear the helmet
before I have shoes on.
Mike, put the helmet away.
I think Felix probably feels
a little bit of anxiety,
you know, everything's,
coming together.
Now it becomes more
upon his performance and less upon
maybe the science team
so he's more
and more in the limelight
Hold on a second. Hands away.
I can't work with this ... .
Felix is going to 28,000 feet.
He's never jumped from higher
and he's facing the restriction
of a pressurised suit.
This is the most extreme
freefall he's ever done.
Joining him is Luke Aikens.
At these altitudes, everyone needs
to wear an oxygen mask.
As Felix completes final checks,
in the foreground,
takes off his mask.
He leaves the plane
and hangs on waiting for Felix.
But Felix isn't ready.
Luke doesn't know it,
but the lack of oxygen
means his brain is shutting down.
He's going hypoxic
and it means he's losing his grip.
Suddenly he falls..
Luke is effectively unconscious
and falling to earth at 160mph.
Felix is confused
and jumps out after him.
The team has no idea of the drama
unfolding above them.
Luke needs to come round. His
parachute won't open automatically.
Can you see them? Yup.
Just seconds from the ground,
Luke regains consciousness
and pulls his chute.
How did it go?
I don't remember jumping out.
You don't remember jumping out?
I remember giving Felix
thumbs up I the door,
I climbed out and then
I was in freefall looking for Felix.
Did we leave together?
No, you were... I just went, right?
That's what I thought I did.
Luke said he didn't even
remember jumping out.
I was out of it...
He took his face mask off.
You usually don't
jump from altitudes like this.
Everyone talks about the hypoxia
and the effects of it
and how it comes on and you think
everything's fine and it's not.
I'm losing all my flexibility.
In an emergency situation,
it becomes scary.
Felix is shaken by Luke's near miss.
The suit is blown up
and I can't move.
He's focusing his anger on the suit,
convinced he can't jump
safely in it.
It's not moving in this direction,
so it's like I can't see it.
So I'm not jumping in it anymore.
This thing is crap.
Felix forces the team to abandon
testing altogether.
I'm very disappointed.
What we thought was working OK
and was going to be fine
is suddenly not OK anymore.
We're going to have to go back
and think about what we're doing.
Felix walks out on the mission
and catches the first flight home.
It sometimes feels like,
I can't do it. It's just too much.
There's a lot of stuff that has
never been done before
and I don't have a lot of time to
prepare myself for stuff like this.
Like in a suit, I mean pilots have
a couple of thousand hours
in that suit - I just have 20.
Just having the suit on my body,
feeling it,
the smell and everything makes me
kind of anxious,
I'm sitting there like,
I don't feel good today.
I'm not sure, I don't like the suit
today. I'm telling myself, hey,
c'mon, tough it out, you have to go
through this
because it's getting closer.
This is the year that we
have to deliver
and know you're having a problem
wearing the suit?
But I couldn't stand it so I told
Mike, I opened my visor again,
get me out of the suit.
I just can't do it today.
Red Bull offers Felix
professional help.
Imagine that you are now in the
room where the tests are.
You see the oxygen mask.
You see the mask, you smell it,
you know you can cope with it.
We're kind of second-guessing
what's going on in Felix's head,
and whether it's the fear
of the jump of the fear of the suit
or just the fear of possibly
failing at something.
But there's something going
on in his head that he has
to get a hold of.
This shouldn't be something that you
have to talk somebody into doing.
You're going to get someone hurt
if you do.
It has been six months
since Felix's anxiety in the suit
ended his training.
The engineers are now in the final
stage of their work.
They just need to test the capsule
under pressurised conditions.
Check location of all four
parachute handles.
But Felix has refused
to return from Austria.
OK, the outside is 20,600ft...
The team have been forced to
bring in a substitute for the test.
The test pilot that we have,
Rob Rowe, is a real pro
and, ah, we have a lot of advantages
of having him doing it,
because of his professionalism.
Rob is a charm to work with,
he never complains about anything,
he's very easy going.
He considers himself
more of a tool for the project.
News of the team's progress
has reached Felix.
I saw the video of when Rob
was in the chamber in Brooks,
and I got so jealous
just watching him.
Because he is in my suit.
This is my suit.
This is my spacecraft.
Everything was developed for me.
And just seeing him in the suit,
sitting in my capsule,
playing with all the buttons
and stuff made me start thinking,
like, hey, I mean,
I lost a whole programme.
'I have to find a solution.'
Felix is running out of time.
He steps up his personal training.
I'm working on my fitness
and my mental skills.
I'm doing a lot of scuba diving,
because it's very similar
to wearing that suit.
If I can handle this,
I can also handle the suit.
But Felix's team is losing
confidence in him.
He had the opportunity
to train properly,
he just never took advantage of it.
He needs to be in the suit.
He needs to be part of the team.
You need to be dedicated to do this.
And if you're not dedicated,
you've got no business being here.
This is something I want so bad
and I'm willing to go that extra
mile to reach that goal.
And if they don't believe
I can do it,
that even gives me
a lot more motivation.
A year has passed
since Felix halted his training.
Everything is now ready
for the final jump.
Except him.
He finally returns to face
the team - and the suit.
The capsule already demonstrated
that it's capable of doing the job.
It's already been tested
and stamped and approved.
Now it's Felix's turn
to get stamped and approved.
Everybody's out there. Everybody's
fired up, so it's kind of cool.
This is a complete rehearsal of
the capsule's ascent to 125,000ft.
It's a final test of the technology,
and of Felix.
We've got cold temperature,
we have low pressures,
we have a pressure suit involved.
It's as close as we can get
to the actual flight
without taking off the ground.
To simulate the exact conditions
of the real jump,
Felix is locked
inside the suit for four hours.
Can you read me, Felix?
Attaboy. How's your cabin doing?
The team watch his every move.
The last time I was putting
that helmet on,
just the smell of the rubber
made me feel so bad.
This time, everything
is totally different.
It's still the same smell, but it's
related to something else.
It's not my enemy anymore.
You're doing great, Felix.
The instrumentation looks great,
you're doing good. Keep it up!
I think that the biggest link
that I created is that
where you're going to go -
normally you should not be there.
But as soon as you wear that suit,
that allows you to be there.
That's the only way to survive
in that hostile environment.
And just by thinking about that
changes the whole picture.
Whatever was there, he's resolved,
I think we're all not only impressed
but amazed that he turned it around.
180 degree change.
He's dedicated and motivated
and he'll do a good job.
Felix has proved he has
what it takes to get safely
to the edge of space.
Now all he needs to do...
is jump.
Preparations for launch
are underway.
And the world's media
arrives in New Mexico.
It has taken 18 million
and years of hard work,
but the team are ready for take-off.
I've been working four years
on this project,
I've been waiting 52 years
for someone to beat my record.
It's been a long journey.
We're delighted that we're
finally at the final step.
Felix himself has come a long way,
he had no pressure suit experience
at all at the beginning of this.
And now he is very confident
in a pressure suit.
So I'm very proud of him.
The team prepares
for a launch after sunrise.
They send up weather balloons
to check the wind speed.
My biggest fear of
the entire thing
is getting the balloon
off the ground.
It's going to be 750ft tall,
so that's about three-quarters
the size of the Eiffel Tower.
Conditions to launch this type
of balloon have to be perfect.
Joe will be directing Felix
from Mission Control.
He will talk him through
each stage of the mission.
I'm sitting there,
empathising with him.
And when he jumps,
I'm jumping with him.
I've done it myself
and I know exactly
what he's going through.
Wind speeds are perfect.
The race is on to inflate the
balloon before the weather changes.
Joe, this is Felix in the capsule,
do you read me?
I read you very loud,
how do you read me?
But there's a problem
with the radio.
1, 2, 3, 4, 5. the capsule,
do you read me?
Felix, I can read you five-square,
but you're obviously not reading me.
It takes more than
half an hour to fix.
We need to switch over to radio two.
We need him to hurry up or
we're going to run out of time.
The weather window is closing fast.
Get out the door, let's go!
OK, helium good, let's start.
We got to press on.
We're way behind schedule!
The wind is beginning to rise.
I gotta tell you,
the wind is blowing this balloon
all over creation!
Felix, the wind's came up.
We'll have to abort.
No way.
Sorry to tell you.
This is going to be
a painful mission debrief.
The team's mistakes have cost
them one of their two balloons.
And the confidence of their pilot.
We've got to figure out
what the issues were
as far as the radio comm,
cos with the switch...
My radio comm?
It wasn't intentional.
It just happened? Yeah.
In such an operation as this,
things just happen?!
We're looking at what we need to be
better organised...
Now we're down to one balloon.
We have to have
the right conditions.
So what's the plan?
Right now, Don's looking at weather.
Next step is figure out the day.
The team will have to wait
four days for another chance.
'You have to start up
your system again
'and think through the process,
and then it's not going to happen,'
then you have to do it all over
again. It's just exhausting,
so, I don't know how much more
I can do this, you know.
So, I really hope this is going
to happen tonight.
Hello, Eva.
How are you? Alles gut! Alles gut.
Felix, do you read me?
Read you loud and clear, sir.
We've got to get closer to going.
You were born ready, Felix.
This time, the team is on schedule.
But with only one balloon,
there is no room for error.
We're all with you, buddy.
Standing by, Joe, ready to go.
Stand by and get
ready for your trip to space.
We are go for launch!
Oh, beautiful! Beautiful, wow!
Look at it go!
Felix, you're on the way to space.
Thank you so much, guys.
And you're going up just great.
Felix, you're going up at 1,200ft
per minute. Right on track.
Everything's looking good,
you're doing great on the cabin.
And everything is green.
We know you will, Felix,
we've got confidence in you.
That's a good view of the airfield
down there.
You've passed about 30,000,
you're doing 100mph.
And you're moving across New Mexico.
100 miles an hour. Really?
Actually, 112 right now,
you're flat moving out.
Just before Felix passes into
the deadly atmosphere
above the Armstrong line,
he makes an alarming discovery.
Phil, check your monitor.
Phil, check your monitor.
"Phil, check your monitor"
is Joe's emergency code.
We have a problem,
we have a problem.
The television signal
from the control room
is cut to allow Felix
to talk openly.
Face plate heat is all the way up...
The millions watching at home
see nothing of what follows.
If Felix has no face-plate heat,
his visor will keep fogging up.
If he can't see the horizon, or his
instruments, he can't jump safely.
We have a choice -
to continue up a little bit
and see if it gets better
as you get lots of cold,
or abort.
What do you think we should do?
I think we're seeing
face-plate heating...
I don't see it fogging up.
Here's the problem - he thinks
he doesn't have face plate.
It's his own perception,
and if he doesn't trust
that he doesn't have face plate,
he's not a safe person
and he probably wants to abort.
Mike, I want you to have
our helicopter be in position -
we might have to cut him down.
We have an emergency here,
and they should be ready to act.
As Felix rises above 80,000 feet,
the team need to reassure him that
the visor will work when he jumps.
If he didn't have
face-plate heating,
he'd be fogged up completely.
OK, Felix,
here's what we think we should do.
He has to unplug his visor
from the capsule power
allowing it to be powered
by the pack on his chest.
But that could cut his communication
to mission control -
and he may never get it back.
Are you going to go for
an umbilical disconnect?
Yeah, he's going to the bathroom.
It's a good time to do it.
Felix has now risen past
Joe's altitude of 102,000 feet,
but he faces a serious dilemma.
if he carries on, he may have no
sight and no contact with his team.
Abort, and he may never get
another chance.
He needs to hurry up and find out
if it's going to work or not
so we know if we're pressing on
to 128.
Felix, are you good there?
Felix decides to risk it.
OK, do you understand
the procedures?
If you thumbs up, we keep going,
thumbs down, we cut you loose.
Roger. Go ahead, Felix,
and good luck and God bless you.
Can you hear me, Felix?
Felix, I'm reading you
loud and clear too.
We have good communications...
Plugged into the chest pack,
he still has communication.
Hold your breath
and let's see if we get
the condensation again, Felix.
Hold your breath and let's see
if we get condensation.
Felix, it appears
as if it's dissipating
while you've got your
breath held -
is that what you're seeing?
I think that means
that it's working.
How you doing, Felix?
Hanging in there, buddy?
Felix is going to jump.
The world is allowed to watch
once more.
OK, confirm you're ready to start
the res check.
OK, here we go, Felix! Item one.
Depress the suit,
reinstall hose and cover.
Suit is depressurised,
hose and cover are installed.
Activate suit
and chest-pack cameras.
Suit and chest-pack cameras are on.
Verify face seal tight.
Verify face seal is tight.
Move seat to the forward position.
Seat is in the forward position.
OK, we're getting serious now,
Depressurise the capsule
to 40,000 feet
and confirm pressure suit
Confirmed, the suit is pressurised.
Depressurise the cabin
to ambient altitude.
There it is!
There's the world out there.
Move seat to the rear capsule.
Lift legs into the door threshold.
In position at the threshold.
Glide the seat forward.
Release seatbelt.
Attaboy. That's good. OK.
Stand up on the exterior step.
Keep your head down.
Release the helmet tie-down strap.
And our guardian angel
will take care of you.
Is he...? What is he doing?
He's spinning, isn't he?
Felix has just gone supersonic.
But he's lost control.
Gosh darn.
1 minute 30 seconds,
and stable as a rock.
INDISTINC Felix, are you calling me?
Keep talking, Felix, keep talking.
Three minutes' freefall.
Three minutes' freefall.
you're at the coldest altitude.
The further you fall,
the warmer it's going to get.
Felix, we're so proud of you.
You did absolutely fabulously.
Absolutely fabulous. I couldn't
have done any better myself.
Oh, my God.
That was so scary
you cannot believe.
I think I just lost 1,000 of weight
off my shoulders.
I wanted to hug the whole world.
Come on, buddy.
Without this guy,
I couldn't have done it.
It had a wonderful conclusion.
I am now a has-been.
But a famous one!