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Olav Zipser Breaking The Supersonic Speed Barrier - help request
Olav Zipser

Joining The Synergy Moon, one of the leading Google Lunar X PRIZE teams, put me in touch with some exceptional people who have a similar vision and outlook on life. One of these is definitely Olav Zipser, a world-renowned skydiver who in 1990 began experimenting with non-traditional forms of body flight. This led to the establishment of new skydiving discipline nowadays known as freeflying.

Freeflying is an expansion of skydiving which includes the traditional belly-to-earth positions, but extends into vertical flight where the flyer is in an upright position (falling feet first) or in an inverted position (falling head first). These positions increase freefall speeds and make new types of formations and routines possible.

A freeflyer, in order to fully understand the aerodynamic power of his/her body in freefall, needs to first learn to control all of the skydiving forms: box position (belly-to-earth, traditional skydiving position), back flying (back-to-earth), head-up flying, head-down flying, and side flying. These positions are not held for the duration of a skydive. Freeflying can, and usually does, involve constant transitions in position and speeds, with vertical and horizontal orientations. This can involve constantly flowing skydives, with all positions explored, or more static skydives where flyers are concentrating on building a large formation while flying in one of these freefly positions.

Due to the increased freefall speed and potentially faster horizontal speeds, freeflying has dangers beyond that of a normal skydive. Extra care must be taken for freefall skydive groups to stay away from belly-to-earth skydivers to avoid collisions. Since most parachutes are not designed to be opened at speeds higher than that of normal belly flying, freeflyers must transition back to the "belly to earth" position and slow down their descent for several seconds before deploying their parachute. While freeflying is a younger and more extreme addition to skydiving, it is becoming a popular event in competitions and world records. 

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Olav is currently aspiring to break Joe Kittinger’s 1960 high-altitude jump. He will also try to break the supersonic speed barrier by jumping from an extremely high altitude while forming his body to minimise the air resistance and maximise the velocity. "This initial record attempt will be the first of a whole program, culminating with a dive from above the Karman line (100km, 62miles), from a real space altitude. This is not a stunt. This is a research mission."

Interorbital Systems, the launch provider for this extraordinary ambitious mission, will use a modified version of IOS SR 145 rocket to propel Oval to 40km (24.85 miles) altitude, which is much higher that any manned ballon can possibly go. Once this altitude was reached, Olav will be ejected from the rocket and freefly back towards Earth in what he intends to be the longest, fastest, and highest skydive in history.


Olav Zipser at Interorbital Systems


"I created the sport of FreeFlying and have gathered a great deal of important data, but more work is required. That’s why committing to five rocket launches with IOS; these FreeFly events will happen at increasingly higher altitudes. This scientific data will be gathered to develop a safe return method that will benefit the entire aerospace industry—I can even see this as a new extreme sport with unlimited potential."


Help us solve the following puzzle and become a part of this amazing endeavour  

Olav uses a so-called space ball as reference in the sky. This space ball flies at a constant velocity of 260km/hour and thus provides a reliable measure of speed. Olav now wants to make a bigger space ball having a diameter of 30cm and he needs to know how heavy it has to be to reach its terminal velocity of 260km/h by 3km altitude when dropped from a 4km altitude. 

We are seeking talented individuals who can contribute to our legacy and propel our vision by solving the above problem. Ideally, we would need the solution by the end of October 2011. Contact me directly or leave a comment here if you think you can help us.

Last Updated on Sunday, 18 September 2011 15:44