If you were to take the 1969 Apollo 11 moon landing and mix it with the Evel Knievel motor cycle stunts of the ’70s and ’80s, you would have something close to this past Sunday’s jump from the edge of space.
As Felix Baumgartner stood in a capsule suspended some 24 miles above the Earth, millions of people were with him…in a way. Despite the seven professional football games being broadcast at the time, the Internet was on fire with people live streaming this daredevil and his monumental achievement.
When Baumgartner stepped off the capsule and began his decent toward the New Mexico desert below, he achieved several world records. Not the least of which was surviving the world’s longest free fall. It took this super sonic skydiver nine minutes to land safely back on the ground. If Tom Petty’s “Free Fallin” had been on repeat on Baumgartener’s iPod, he would have heard it 2.17 times.
The event happened without a network broadcast in the United States. Though it was carried on cable’s Discovery Channel, eight million people world wide watched The Redbull sponsored YouTube link.
As I marveled at the idea that eight million people watched via their computer or smart phone as a man jumped to the earth from space, I was overwhelmed by two thoughts:
First, I carry the ability to watch any event in my pocket. The wealth of human knowledge is accessible almost anywhere in the world. Say your car broke down. From your stranded position and utilizing your smartphone, you could download a video of someone repairing the exact issue that your engine is experiencing. Or you could call a tow truck and watch videos of people getting hit in the groin until it arrives. Either way we live in fascinating times.
Second, Redbull is doing more in space than the US government.