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Skydiving From Space

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Rodd Milner is taking extreme sports to a whole new level, or to be precise, a whole new atmosphere. Forget about all those pansy sports like bungy jumping, luge racing and mountain climbing - this guy is planning a sky dive from space!

Rodd intends to wear a space suit and ride 130,000 feet (40,000 metres) up to the edge of space in a balloon. That's higher than four Mount Everests stacked on top of each other. If that doesn't sound crazy enough, once he gets up there, he's going to jump. If he doesn't chicken out, Rodd will be flying towards earth at a speed of between 700 and 900 miles per hour (1100 to 1400 kilometres per hour.) That would make him the first human to break the sound barrier without using a jet plane, car or other vehicle.

How is Rodd going to prepare for this death-defying feat? He'll start by going through a nine-month training program in Australia where he'll do hundreds of practice dives. Rodd will gradually go higher and carry more equipment each jump. His final trip up in a helium balloon should take about two and a half hours. His jump down to earth? Less than 10 minutes.

The key to Rodd's survival will be his space suit. This thing will have three layers and be pressurized to protect Rodd from the cold and changes in air pressure. When he reaches 130,000 feet, the temperature will be -112 F (-80 C.) If Rodd pulls off this feat, he'll break a number of records - including highest balloonist and furthest free faller. The space jump is scheduled for March, 2002. If Rodd's chute opens and everything goes according to plan, you'll be able to watch a big screen movie about the jump. Rodd's suit will be equipped with cameras and a team of skydivers will film the jump once Rodd reaches 40,000 feet. Let's hope that chute opens.

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