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article imageVideo: Suit Camera records Baumgartner's 'death spin'

By Greta McClain     Oct 16, 2012 in Science
Los Alamos - Footage from Felix Baumgartner's suit camera shows the out of control flat spin he experienced as he made his historic, 24-mile leap on Sunday.
Baumgartner faced many possible dangers during his free fall. If his pressurized suit had ripped, the lack of atmospheric pressure could have caused his blood to boil. Organs could have exploded, his parachute could have failed to deploy, or he could have encountered what some call a "death spin". It was the later possibility that he did encounter, and it was captured on his suit camera.
The high-velocity flat spin he encountered could have also caused serious injury or even cost him his life. According to National Geographic the spin could had the potential to cause extreme eye and brain injury.
Red Bull Stratos said Baumgartner did fear he was going to lose consciousness at one point during the violent spin, saying "There was a time I really thought I was in trouble. I had to decide to fight all the way down and I finally got stable.
That spin became so violent it was hard to know how to get out of it. I was able to get it under control and break the speed of sound.
I could feel myself break the speed of sound . I could feel the air building up and then I hit it."
The Daily Mail quotes him as saying: "In that situation, when you spin around, it's like hell and you don't know if you can get out of that spin or not. 't was really brutal at times. I thought for a few seconds that I’d lose consciousness."
Baumgartner stated during the first several seconds of the spin, he did not fear for his safety, but he was worried he would not break the sound: "When I was spinning the first 10, 20 seconds, I never thought I was going to lose my life but I was disappointed because I'm going to lose my record. I put seven years of my life into this."
Baumgartner used his arms and legs to recover from the spin, putting one arm out, then another until he could determine what action was slowing the speed of the spin. After nearly a full minute of spinning, Baumgartner was able to stop the out of control spin and continue the remainder of his decent in a stable manner.
According to the Huffington Post, a stabilization chute would have automatically deployed if Baumgartner had exceeded 3.5Gs in an uncontrolled spin.
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