Looks like Red Bull’s wings aren’t very good at keeping people ahead of the competition. Today, Alan Eustace, a 57-year-old senior vice president at Google, broke Baumgartner’s much-heralded world altitude breaking record.
He went up into the stratosphere in a helium balloon and jumped out at around 41,425m (Baumgartner went up a paltry 38,969m). It took him 15 minutes to reach the ground, and on the way he smashed Baumgartner’s record as he zipped to the earth at 1287km/h.
Eustace told the New York Times that Google was willing to assist him, but he declined out of fear it’d get turned into a marketing stunt. Eustace sounds pretty cool (he has a long history as a parachutist and did show flips on his way down).
Now, obviously Baumgartner’s jump was badass, but the fact that a corporate executive was able to surpass the record in such a short period of time sure suggests that it’s not so much about the feat being near-impossible as it is about the feat being an extremely expensive undertaking. Red Bull’s XXXtreme marketing guys must be a bit glum today.