Press Release

Wyle Test Operations Support Record Free-Fall Jump

By SpaceRef Editor
October 17, 2012
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Wyle’s San Antonio Operations Conducted High Altitude Tests on Capsule and Other Equipment Used in Jump

Wyle’s test operations in San Antonio, Texas, known for its decades of supporting the U.S. Air Force in high altitude research for pilot safety, assisted Sunday’s record-setting 24-mile (127,000 feet) free-fall jump by Felix Baumgartner over Roswell, New Mexico.

The jump at the edge of space from a balloon-tethered capsule breaks the free-fall world record of more than 19 miles (102,800 feet), set by Air Force test pilot Joe Kittinger in 1960. The endeavor, called Stratos, is funded by the energy drink company Red Bull.

Early in the program, Wyle used its chambers to simulate high altitude conditions that the capsule and Baumgartner would experience during the real jump. Wyle technicians used its chambers at the Brooks City Base to replicate low air pressure at 123,000 feet and extreme cold conditions at -60 degrees Fahrenheit. Kittinger took part in the tests as part of the engineering team.

“The completion of this test process at Brooks was a significant milestone in the Red Bull Stratos project by man rating the capsule and all systems,” said Art Thompson, of Sage Cheshire Aerospace of Lancaster, Calif., which built the capsule. He served as the Red Bull Stratos technical director. “It also showed the significance of this type of testing in an environment that can only be reproduced at a facility like Brooks unless you are actually in flight.”

Wearing a newly designed pressurized suit and helmet, Baumgartner’s record-setting jump tested the threshold of his equipment as scientists, aerospace engineers, the Air Force and NASA study what it shows about the limits and capabilities of the human body bailing out from aircraft at ultra-high altitudes.

“We are thrilled at Wyle to have been part of the Red Bull Stratos team and we congratulate them on an exceptional record-setting jump,” said Bill Ercoline, Wyle’s manager at the Brooks City Base.

“It was pretty obvious from the very start that the Red Bull team was as much concerned about safety as it was as breaking the record. That they added Wyle, one of most experienced aerospace companies in human flight safety testing, to their team showed to us how serious they were.”

Wyle, a privately held company, is a leading provider of high tech aerospace engineering and information technology services to the federal government on long-term outsourcing contracts. The company also provides test and evaluation of aircraft, weapon systems, networks, and other government assets; and other engineering services to the aerospace, defense, and nuclear power industries. For decades, Wyle has provided medical services to NASA’s astronaut corps during space flights.

For more information on Wyle, go to

Dan Reeder
(310) 563-6834
Ref.: NR/12-27

SpaceRef staff editor.