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Diver to jump from 40 km height in Thermolite Micro Insulated suit
Mar '09
Michel Fournier (65), a former colonel of the French Army has announced for end of August 2009 his next attempt of the amazing free-fall Super Jump in a special suit with Thermolite Performance Insulation, to break the high altitude skydive record of 40 km.

The Super Jump was initially developed as part of the European HERMES space shuttle program, to test atmosphere re-entry & freefall rescue methods for shuttle astronauts to escape without a spacecraft in emergency cases. Michel Fournier was selected among other candidates for this mission, which in the end was cancelled. The 65-year-old man then pursued the work on his own. Michel's journey to a height of 40.000 m will start in a pressurized gondola hanging from a special balloon, where he will see the curvature of the earth and then jump out of the stratosphere in an amazing free fall jump.

Within the first 40 seconds and a speed of more than 1100 km/h he will exceed the speed of sound. After a free fall of six minutes Michel will open his parachute at a height of 5000 m.

Michel Fournier's last attempt failed in 2008 in North Battleford, (Saskatchewan plains in Canada). Although conditions were perfect for the jump, everything running smoothly and according to program when suddenly, one of the security releases that joins the capsule to the balloon, malfunctioned and released the massive 160m high Helium balloon, which floated away separated from the capsule, in which Michel Fournier had entered before and had been pre-breathing pure oxygen for hours to clean his bloodstream and body tissues of dissolved nitrogen that could cause problems in the low pressure of extreme altitudes.

The malfunction was caused by a radio receptor attached to the release device being accidentally banged and sending a false signal to the security release system. This mechanism is needed to cut the capsule from the balloon that shall come back to earth after Michel had jumped out of the stratosphere.

This incidence did not discourage Michel Fournier, who has announced that he would attempt another jump this summer. Michel said that he “will not give up to launch this project” which he started 20 years ago with private financing. For the next attempt this summer he will have a backup balloon.

During the descent, Michel will be wearing a special insulation suit that is containing two layers of THERMOLITE MICRO Performance Insulation in 150 g/m².

This THERMOLITE MICRO Insulation inside the space suit will enable Michel to survive temperatures below –100°C (-150° Fahrenheit) during 10 minutes, being the only insulation allowing him to resist the extreme conditions of the reentry freefall.

According to ISO 11092 the thermal resistance of each layer of THERMOLITE MICRO Insulation is RCT m². K/W = 0,460.

THERMOLITE MICRO is characterized by a patented blend of thin micro fibers that trap efficiently the heat losses by radiation and convection. The benefits are superior warmth without excess bulk or weight, exceptional softness and comfort, along with outstanding compatibility and durability properties. THERMOLITE MICRO Insulation acts as a protective cocoon slim fitted against Michel's body thanks to the form of fibers.

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