When Was the First Parachute Jump?
The Google Doodle for today, October 22, 2013 celebrates the 216th anniversary of the first successful and public parachute jump. Andre-Jacques Garnerin was the pioneering Frenchman behind that feat jumping some 3,200 feet from a hot air balloon, a stunt born out of a career supporting military uses of the balloon. The “choose your own direction” animation uses another vintage 20th century illustration style to show Garnerin launching from the streets of Paris and floating past clouds, birds, buildings, and many other scenes and creatures, including a fairly adorable whale. (See it and learn more about Garnerin.)
This is also the 1st anniversary of the furthest skydive ever taken. On October 14, 2012, Felix Baumgartner also took a balloon, this time one filled with helium, and rose to the nearly Sandra-Bullock-and-George-Clooney-like height of 24.2 miles, and jumped. On the way down he became the first human being to travel at the speed of sound without a vehicle, and then opened his parachute, just like Garnerin had done two centuries earlier, and landed safely back on Earth. This year he became National Geographic’s 2013 People’s Choice Adventurer of the Year.
Attending and assisting Baumgartner’s training and performance was retired Air Force Col. Joe Kittinger, who jumped from 102,800 feet fifty years earlier. While countless things have changed since Garnerin’s inaugural jump, important things have stayed the same: while industry and military use push technical capabilities to new limits, those same innovations become springboards for adventurous souls endlessly driven by the simple spirit of pushing human experience to dizzying new levels.As Felix Baumgartner broke the world record for a free fall jump from higher than 120,000 feet in space—becoming the first person to free fall while breaking the sound barrier—the National Geographic Channel and BBC detailed every second with more than 20 cameras. The footage was combined with exclusive behind-the-scenes access following Baumgartner’s four-year metamorphosis from an elite BASE jumper to an extreme altitude specialist who can think and act like an astronaut for the National Geographic Channel presentation “Space Dive.” (Photograph courtesy Jay Nemeth, Red Bull Content Pool)
Learn more about Andre-Jacques Garnerin and his jump: When Was the First Parachute Jump?
See more photos learn more about Felix Baumgartner: National Geographic’s 2013 Adventurers of the Year
Watch the official Red Bull Full Point-of-View, Multi-Angle, Mission Data Video of Felix Baumgartner’s historic jump:
More Google Doodle Coverage on National Geographic