Britain's first astronaut could be launched on to space next year...but not in a conventional?
Britain's first astronaut could be launched on to space next year...but not in a conventional space craft. Peter Dean intends to travel 130,000 feet (about 39,000 metres) up into space in a helium balloon and travel back to earth by parachute.
Tests are currently being carried out at Yeovil Airport in Somerset and, of all goes well, Dean will become the first man in the world to break the sound barrier...without a conventional vehicle.
He plans to leave his balloon 25 miles (about 40 kilometres) up and will reach a speed of more than 1,000 miles (about 1600 kilometres) an hour before opening his parachute five and a half minutes later at 18,000 feet (about 6,000 metres).
Apart from aiming to be Britain's first astronaut, Dean also wants to break the world free fall parachute jump record. That is currently held by Joe Kittinger of the United State with a jump of just over 100,000 feet (about 30,000 metres). Dean says he is also keen to see the effect of the sonic boom on the human body.
He plans to carry out the attempt in the United States next year.