Alan Eustace

Stratospheric explorer
Alan Eustace leapt to Earth from the edge of the stratosphere wearing only a spacesuit, shattering skydiving records and potentially revolutionizing the commercial space industry.

Why you should listen

Two years after Felix Baumgartner jumped from a capsule in the stratosphere for Red Bull, a quiet group led by now-retired Google exec Alan Eustace beat the height record -- without a capsule. (Neither livestreamed nor promoted, the jump record was announced the next day.) In a custom 500-pound spacesuit, Eustace was strapped to a weather balloon, and rose to a height of over 135,000 feet, where he dove to Earth at speeds exceeding 821 mph -- breaking both the sound barrier and previous records for high-altitude jumps.

Leading up to this jump, Eustace and his partners in StratEx had spent years solving a key problem of stratosphere exploration: returning human beings to Earth from the edge of space using minimal life-support systems. In the process, they’ve opened the door to cheaper and safer near-space travel.

What others say

“I think they’re putting a little lookout tower at the edge of space that the common man can share.” — James Hayhurst on the StratEx team, New York Times, October 24, 2014

Alan Eustace’s TED talk

More news and ideas from Alan Eustace

Live from TED

Out of this world: A recap of the stellar talks in Session 4 of TED2015

March 18, 2015

“When our ancestors looked up at the night sky, they saw tools for navigation. They saw myths, and they saw the heavens,” says June Cohen, the host of Session 4 of TED2015. “But technology has given us so many new clues. … Space exploration has never been as fascinating and relevant as it is today.” Here’s […]

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Crazy things people do … in the name of science

March 17, 2015

In 2014, Google's Alan Eustace strapped himself to a weather balloon, soared to a height of 135,000 feet … and then jumped -- all for science. Read more about his experiment ... and about 9 others who merrily pushed the boundaries in the name of their work.

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