Alan Eustace holds the record for highest altitude free fall jump. On October 24, 2016, he jumped from the stratosphere at an altitude of 136,000 feet or about 26 miles. Alan was a Vice President of Engineering and Knowledge for Google and held many other executive roles at other high tech companies prior to Google. He is currently retired and lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Some interesting insights from this episode:
- He had so much confidence in his team and his equipment and so much practice along the way that he had absolutely no fear on the final record-setting jump.
- He used scuba diving as inspiration for solving the challenge of surviving in a self-contained system in the stratosphere.
- Unlike Felix Baumgartner’s Red Bull-sponsored jump which had tons of media and buzz around it, Alan approached the jump more as a science experiment with little fanfare.
- Learn how he assembled and oversaw a team of leading experts across multiple fields which were foreign to him at the time including meteorology, ballooning, spacesuit design, environmental systems and high altitude medicine.
- There were multiple feats of engineering to enable a safe flight including a specially-designed rogue parachute that could stabilize him during his fall, a spin-free spacesuit and an automatic parachute release.
- His wife had him write his own obituary and farewell video to his children so he could understand the gravity of this undertaking.
- “Excellence is approaching a problem and trying to find the best possible way through it.”