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Kinematic

Analysis of Felix Baumgartners Unassisted Jump from the


Stratosphere on October 14th, 2012
Northeastern University, PHYS 3601
Samantha Bell
April 6th, 2015

ABSTRACT

Felix Baumgartner successfully jumped unassisted from the Stratosphere back to Earth on
October 14th, 2012. He was able to push the limits of aerospace technology and break the
sound barrier. His motion during the fall is particularly interesting in that he experience a
varying density of air that caused for a varying drag force. MATLAB was used to model the
motion of Felix Baumgartner using Eulers Method on the equation of motion that factored in a
varying gravitational force and both linear and quadratic terms of drag. Baumgartner was
modeled as a sphere of diameter 1.5 m to simplify calculations. It was found that the linear
drag had very little effect on the overall motion. Although the model used was not able to
provide the exact specific data points that matched up with the published data, it was still able
to gather the correct trends to allow for a basic analysis of his motion and to determine that
linear drag and varying gravity both had little effect on his motion.

INTRODUCTION

On October 14th, 2012 Austrian daredevil Felix Baumgartner completed an unassisted jump
from the Stratosphere landing in Rockwell, NM as part of the Red Bull Stratos Mission to the
Edge of Space. The purpose of the mission was to gather data and push the limits of current
technology in attempts to advance the aerospace industry and the protection of pilots and
passengers in low pressure atmospheres. Another goal of the mission was for Felix to break the
sound barrier. The following report attempts to analyze the jump and provide a model for the
physics of the jump. 1
In jumping from the Stratosphere, Felix would be experiencing a constantly changing drag force
due to the constantly changing viscosity and density of air. The drag Felix experienced was
mostly quadratic drag affected by a drag coefficient dependent on density, but linear drag also
affected his jump, which is affected by a drag coefficient dependent on viscosity. Although it is
most accurate to model drag using both linear and quadratic terms, the linear drag tends to
affect mostly low velocity situations, which this was not, meaning that it could also be modeled
as purely quadratic.
The constantly changing atmospheric qualities severely affected the jump Felix made, because
in the extremely high altitudes where there was almost no air density, Felix spun due to a lack
of symmetry of his shape. However, being an experienced skydiver, Felix was able to come out
of the spin once he reached denser atmosphere and correct his position for his own safety.
However, due to these effects, Felixs shape during the jump was constantly changing and
irregular, making it difficult to successfully model his jump, so the assumption was made to
model him as a sphere.
Another factor into the physical model is the gravitational force. As you move farther from
Earth, the gravitational force decreases. Therefore the model should theoretically take into
account Felixs altitude at every point when determining the gravitational force. However, at his
maximum altitude there is an almost negligible change in the gravitational force, so his jump
would be modeled with either a constant or changing gravitational force and there wouldnt be
much of a difference.
In attempting to break the sound barrier it is important to consider that the speed of sound
varies with altitude, so at different points in his descent, Felix will have to be travelling at
different speeds to be considered supersonic. It is also important to consider here that terminal
velocity will also be constantly changing, so his potential to hit the speed of sound based on
terminal velocity will also change with height, giving him more potential to hit supersonic
speeds in the early part of his jump. 4
METHOD

To model Felix Baumgartners jump from the Stratosphere, the equation of motion was first
derived. Figure 1 shows a diagram modeling the situation.


Figure 1 - Diagram Modeling Felix Baumgartner's Jump from the Stratosphere

Equations 1-4 show the derivation for the equation of motion for the model where the
gravitational force changes with altitude and linear and quadratic drag are considered.

= + + - (1)

= + + - (2)
4
= -
+ 3 + - (3)
+ 4 16
4
+ 3 + () -
( + 4 ) - 16
= = , , (4)

As shown in Figure-1 the y-direction is defined to be positive going upwards. For the equations,
DEF
y = Felixs altitude, m = Felixs mass, = 6.67 10BCC , the gravitational constant , 4 =
GHF
5.97 10-K , the mass of the Earth, 4 = 6.38 10 , the radius of the Earth, d =
N

diameter of the sphere used to model Felix, = the function modeling the viscosity of air,
and = the function modeling the density of air. According the Red Bull Stratos website,
Felixs mass with all of his gear on was 260 lb 1, which is equivalent to 118.128 kg, which was
used as the value for m. The diameter of the sphere, d, was used as 1.5 m as directed by
Professor Feiguin. Functions for the density and viscosity of air in terms of altitude needed to
be found to properly model the fall. Using data from the 1976 US Standard Atmosphere 2,
functions were found. Figures 2 and 3 show the graphs made from the data points for the
atmospheric properties, and the trendlines show the functions found.

Viscosity as a Function of Altitude


2.50E-05

Viscosity (Ns/m2)
2.00E-05

1.50E-05

1.00E-05
y = 2E-24x4 - 3E-19x3 + 2E-14x2 - 5E-10x + 2E-
5.00E-06 05
R = 0.96449
0.00E+00
0 20,000 40,000 60,000 80,000 100,000
Altitude (m)

Figure 2 - Plot of Viscosity vs Altitude for Air

Density as a Function of Altitude


2
Density (kg/m3)

1.5
y = 1.424e-1E-04x
R = 0.99867
1

0.5

0
0 20,000 40,000 60,000 80,000 100,000
Altitude (m)

Figure 3 - Plot of Density vs Altitude for Air

As shown in the figures, the functions for viscosity and density are as follows in equations 5 and
6.
= 2 10B-K K 3 10BCO P + 2 10BCK - 5 10BCQ + 2 10BR (5)
TU )V
= 1.424 B(CCQ (6)

Once all the data was gathered and the functions for viscosity and density were found, the
actual modeling could begin. The equation of motion cannot be solved analytically, so a
numerical method must be used. This model utilizes Eulers Method in MATLAB. Eulers Method
is a numerical method for solving differential equations where you take advantage of the
relation between the dependent and independent variables and the derivative of the function
to find approximations for successive points while increasing the dependent variable by the
step size. For this model, three different time steps were used (10, 1, and 0.1). The following
relations were also utilized: = ; = . Using these relations, equations 7 and 8 could be
used for Eulers method to find successive points in a loop where h is the time step.
XYZ = [\] + [\] , [\] , (7)
XYZ = [\] + [\] (8)
Utilizing equations 7 and 8 in a loop and resetting the values of yold and vold in each run of the
loop, values for altitude and velocity were found for each time value hit by the time step. These
data points were then graphed. Appendices A-F contain all of the code used to model Felixs
jump. The functions contained in Appendices E and F are only used when modeling the jump
using solely quadratic drag or solely linear drag.

RESULTS

Red Bull Stratos released data for certain key points within Felixs jump 3. These data points are
shown in Table 1.
Table 1 - Released Data from Felix Baumgartner's Jump
Actual Jump Data
Time (s) Position (m) Velocity (m/s)
0 38969.4 0
34 33446 -309.72222
50 27833 -377.11111
64 22960.7 -289.72222
180 7619.3 -79.166667
260 2567 -53.194444
This data was then used to roughly plot the position vs time and velocity vs time to get an idea
of the shapes of the graphs. These plots are shown in figures 4 and 5.

Actual Altitude (m) vs Time (s)


60000
Altitude (m)

40000

20000

0
0 34 50 64 180 260
Time (s)

Figure 4 - Actual Altitude vs Time for Felix Baumgartner's Jump
Actual Velocity (m/s) vs Time (s)
0
0 34 50 64 180 260

Velocity (m/s)
-500

-1000

-1500
Time (s)

Figure 5 - Actual Velocity vs Time for Felix Baumgartner's Jump

Next, the MATLAB program was run for a model of linear and quadratic drag. The data for the
key points published is shown in Table 2, the Altitude vs Time graph is shown in Figure 6, and
the Velocity vs Time Graph is shown in Figure 7.
Table 2 - Data for Key Points for a Linear + Quadratic Drag Model
Linear + Quadratic Drag
Timestep 10 1 0.1
Time (s) Position (m) Velocity (m/s) Position (m) Velocity (m/s) Position (m) Velocity (m/s)
0 38969.4 0 38969.4 0 38969.4 0
34 3.80E+04 -186.5579 3.44E+04 -244.1823 3.41E+04 -244.3743
50 3.36E+04 -289.8545 3.04E+04 -255.004 3.01E+04 -251.5027
64 3.07E+04 -282.9072 2.70E+04 -225.731 2.68E+04 -222.5908
180 1.13E+04 -94.3875 1.08E+04 -92.1049 1.08E+04 -91.8872
260 4.82E+03 -67.5469 4.58E+03 -66.7235 4.55E+03 -66.6427


Figure 6 - Altitude vs Time for a Linear + Quadratic Drag Model

Figure 7 - Velocity vs Time for a Linear + Quadratic Drag Model
Next, the program was run for a solely quadratic drag model. The data for the key points is
show in Table 3, the altitude vs time graph is shown in Figure 8, and the velocity vs time graph
is shown in Figure 9.
Table 3 Data for Key Points for a Quadratic Drag Model
Quadratic Drag Model
Timestep 10 1 0.1
Time (s) Position (m) Velocity (m/s) Position (m) Velocity (m/s) Position (m) Velocity (m/s)
0 38969.4 0 38969.4 0 38969.4 0
34 3.80E+04 -186.5559 3.44E+04 -244.1763 3.41E+04 -244.3683
50 3.36E+04 -289.8466 3.04E+04 -254.9986 3.01E+04 -251.4975
64 3.07E+04 -282.8998 2.70E+04 -225.7281 2.68E+04 -222.588
180 1.13E+04 -94.3879 1.08E+04 -92.1052 1.08E+04 -91.8876
260 4.82E+03 -67.5472 4.58E+03 -66.7238 4.55E+03 -66.643


Figure 8 - Altitude vs Time for a Quadratic Drag Model


Figure 9 - Velocity vs Time for a Quadratic Drag Model
Lastly, the program was run for a solely linear drag model. The data for key points is shown in
Table 4, the altitude vs time graph is shown in Figure 10, and the velocity vs time graph is
shown in Figure 11.
Table 4 - Data for Key Points for a Linear Drag Model
Linear Drag Model
Timestep 10 1 0.1
Time (s) Position (m) Velocity (m/s) Position (m) Velocity (m/s) Position (m) Velocity (m/s)
0 38969.4 0 38969.4 0 38969.4 0
34 3.80E+04 -193.2877 3.39E+04 -319.0908 3.34E+04 -327.8181
50 3.32E+04 -386.6998 2.76E+04 -474.11 2.70E+04 -482.8722
64 2.93E+04 -483.5253 2.01E+04 -610.0465 1.92E+04 -618.8505
180 -9.32E+04 -1.66E+03 -1.16E+05 -1.76E+03 -1.19E+05 -1.77E+03
260 -2.56E+05 -2.58E+03 -2.94E+05 -2.78E+03 -2.98E+05 -2.81E+03


Figure 10 - Altitude vs Time for a Linear Drag Model


Figure 11 - Velocity vs Time for a Linear Drag Model

DISCUSSION

Eulers method, which was used to model Felix Baumgartners jump from the Stratosphere, is
based entirely on the concept of time steps. The time step determines, for a function f(x)=y, the
change in x that is used to evaluate the next data point at. For this model, the function was
dependent on time, the time step determined at what intervals of time data points would be
calculated at. The time step also determines how accurate the approximation using Eulers
Method is. A small time step means that more points are calculated at smaller intervals, so the
data is more accurate. For this model, three different time steps were used: 10, 1, and 0.1. The
time step of 0.1, being the smallest was also the most accurate. From the large scale that was
used for all of the graphs it is hard to tell the difference between the time steps 1 and 0.1 for
most points, but when the graphs are zoomed in there is a difference. The easiest way to see
the difference is to compare the specific data points in the tables and see the differences.
Comparing the tables and the graphs for the three different model (linear & quadratic drag,
only quadratic drag, and only linear drag) it can be seen that the linear drag has relatively no
effect on this model. Comparing the graphs of each model to the rough graphs made of the
actual published data from the jump, it can be seen that the graphs for the linear model do not
match the data at all. Therefore the linear drag model cannot be used alone to model the jump.
The linear & quadratic drag model and the quadratic drag model both match the curves very
well, so they do a decent job at modeling the situation. Comparing the linear & quadratic drag
model with the only quadratic drag model shows that there is very little difference between the
two. For each of the three time steps, the linear & quadratic model and the quadratic model
both have the same positions for each key point. However, their velocities are slightly different,
although this difference is relatively negligible. This small difference in velocity is due to the
linear drag term being considered in the linear & quadratic model and not in the quadratic
model. Therefore the two models are relatively interchangeable, and the linear & quadratic
term with the smallest time step of 0.01 will be used for all further analysis since it is
theoretically the most accurate.
Table 5 shows the comparison of the 0.01 time step data for the linear & quadratic drag model
with the actual data.
Table 5 - Comparison of Linear + Quadratic Model Time Step = 0.01 with the Actual Data

Position (m) Velocity (m/s)


Time (s) Actual Calculated % Difference Actual Calculated % Difference
0 38969.4 38969.4 0 0 0 0
34 33446 3.41E+04 2.1 -309.72222 -244.3743 21.10
50 27833 3.01E+04 8.12 -377.11111 -251.5027 33.31
64 22960.7 2.68E+04 16.53 -289.72222 -222.5908 23.17
180 7619.3 1.08E+04 41.55 -79.166667 -91.8872 16.07
260 2567 4.55E+03 77.41 -53.194444 -66.6427 25.28
As seen in Table 5, the model is not very accurate. The position data starts off fairly accurate,
but as the jump progresses and the time gets larger, the error is the position gets quite large,
getting up to a 77.41% error. The velocity data is more accurate at the end, but it is fairly
consistent with the amount of error, averaging an error of ~23.8%. There are many reasons this
model does not provide the correct data. For one, the model makes the assumption that Felix
Baumgartner is a sphere, but in actuality Felix Baumgartner is a human whose drag coefficients
are going to depend on the position he is in during the fall, which was different at different
points within his fall. Another area for error is the Excel calculated functions for viscosity and
density of air as a function of altitude. The functions found were not a perfect match for the
data points plotted, although they were a fairly decent fit. A third possible cause of error is that
the data used for the viscosity and density functions is from the 1976 US Standard Atmosphere,
so there is the possibility that the atmospheric properties have changed over the past 40 years,
especially given climate change.
According to the released data, Felix does achieve supersonic speeds. Felix travels supersonic
for a total of 30 seconds, starting at 34 seconds and continuing until 64 seconds when he
becomes subsonic again. He is able to reach supersonic speeds due to the fact that the speed of
sound is lower at higher altitudes and the terminal velocity is higher at the higher altitudes.
Because of these characteristics, Felix is able to his speeds higher than normal sky divers and
these speeds are higher than the speed of sound at the altitude he hits them at, making his
travels supersonic. However, due to inconsistencies between the model and the actual event
and the error sources previously mentioned, according to the model Felix does not go
supersonic, but the actual data shows that he does.

CONCLUSION

Felix Baumgartners jump from the Stratosphere on October 14th, 2012 was a success on almost
every level. He was able to safely make it back to Earth, push the limits of aerospace
technology, and break the sound barrier for 30 seconds. In his jump, he experienced constantly
varying drag forces due to the atmospheric properties at different altitudes. The viscosity and
density of air, both of which the drag force is dependent on, change constantly with altitudes
that large. However, it was determined that the linear drag had relatively little effect on his
motion, so his motion could be modeled purely on gravity and quadratic drag, which is
dependent on density, but it is more accurate to model his flight on gravity and both linear and
quadratic drag. The gravitational force also depends on altitude, but at the altitudes Felix was at
the gravitational force has very little variance, although it is still more accurate to model his
motion with a varying gravitational force. Although the model used for his motion did not
provide the most accurate specific data points, it does a decent job at finding the relative
trends and getting somewhat close to specific values, allowing for a rough analysis of his jump.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

[4]R. Allain, 'Stratos Space Jump: Can You Fall Faster Than the Speed of Sound? | WIRED',
WIRED, 2015. [Online]. Available: http://www.wired.com/2012/02/stratos-space-jump-can-
you-fall-faster-than-the-speed-of-sound/. [Accessed: 03- Apr- 2015].
[2] Braeunig.us, 'Properties of Standard Atmosphere', 2015. [Online]. Available:
http://www.braeunig.us/space/atmos.htm. [Accessed: 03- Apr- 2015].
[3] Issuu, 'Red Bull Stratos Factsheet', 2013. [Online]. Available:
http://issuu.com/redbullstratos/docs/red_bull_stratos_factsheet_final_statistics_050213.
[Accessed: 03- Apr- 2015].
[1] Redbullstratos.com, 'Home | Red Bull Stratos', 2014. [Online]. Available:
http://www.redbullstratos.com/. [Accessed: 03- Apr- 2015].
APPENDIX A Main Program

The code contained below is the main program that is called every time the simulation was run.
The code as shown in for a model of drag that contains both the linear and quadratic terms.
However, if the model is switched to solely linear or quadratic drag, the only change that would
need to be made is the function called in the while loop; the function Linear(y,v) or
Quadratic(y,v) would be called instead of Acceleration(y,v) depending on which model for
drag was being used.

%Main Program to Simulate Felix Baumgartner's Jump from the Stratosphere

%Define Variables/Arrays
%Timestep
timestep = [10 1 0.1];
%Time, each row is for a new timestep
Time = zeros([5,260/timestep(3) +1]);
%Altitude, each row is for a new timestep
Altitude = zeros(size(Time));
%Velocity, each row is for a new timestep
Velocity = zeros(size(Time));

%Set Initial Conditions


Altitude(1,1)=38969.4; %units = m
Altitude(2,1)=38969.4; %units = m
Altitude(3,1)=38969.4; %units = m

%Time
t=0; %units = s
double(t);

%Calculate Altitude and Velocity Values By Intervals Defined by 'Timestep'


for Quad + Lin Drag
for n=1:3; %Cycle through the different timestep values
t=timestep(n);
point = 2; %used to keep track of how many times the loop has been run,
to be able to call the proper location in the altitude and velocity arrays
while t < 260; %Gather altitude, velocity, and time values for the
given timestep
y = Altitude(n, point-1);
v = Velocity(n, point-1);
Time(n,point) = t;
Altitude(n, point) = y + v*timestep(n);
Velocity(n, point) = (v + Acceleration(y,v)*timestep(n));
t = t + timestep(n);
point = point + 1;
end
end
%Plot the Altitude Data
plot(Time(1,:),Altitude(1,:),'r')
line(Time(2,:),Altitude(2,:), 'Color', 'g')
line(Time(3,:),Altitude(3,:), 'Color', 'b')

xlabel('Time (s)');
ylabel('Altitude (m)');
title('Altitude (m) as a Function of Time (s) for a Linear + Quadratic Drag
Model');
legend('Time Step = 10', 'Time Step = 1', 'Time Step = 0.1',-1);
%Plot the Velocity Data
figure
plot(Time(1,:),Velocity(1,:),'r')
line(Time(2,:),Velocity(2,:), 'Color', 'g')
line(Time(3,:),Velocity(3,:), 'Color', 'b')

xlabel('Time (s)');
ylabel('Velocity (m/s)');
title('Velocity (m/s) as a Function of Time (s) for a Linear + Quadratic Drag
Model');
legend('Time Step = 10', 'Time Step = 1', 'Time Step = 0.1',-1);

APPENDIX B Acceleration Function

The function shown below is the function that calculates Felixs acceleration at any given point
based on an input of the altitude and velocity at the previous point. This function calculates the
acceleration for a model containing a constantly changing gravitational force and well as both
linear and quadratic drag. This function also calls the Viscosity(y) and Density(y) function
described in Appendices C and D.

function [ a ] = Acceleration(y,v)
%Acceleration Calculates the Acceleration of Felix as a Function of
%Acceleration for Linear and Quadratic Drag

%Declare Variables
%Mass of Felix Baumgartner
m = 118.182; %units = kg
%Diameter of the Sphere Used to Model Felix Baumgartner
d = 1.5; %units = m
%Mass of the Earth
M = 5.97*10^24; %units = kg
%Radius of the Earth
R = 6.38*10^6; %units = m
%Gravitational Constant
G = 6.67*10^-11; %units = Nm^2/kg^2
%Calculate Acceleration
a = (-((G*M*m)/(y+R)^2) + (3*pi*d*Viscosity(y)*v) +
((pi/16)*d*Density(y)*v^2))/m;

end

APPENDIX C - Viscosity Function

The function shown below uses the equation found for viscosity as a function of altitude to
calculate the viscosity of the air given the altitude of the previous point.

function [viscosity] = Viscosity(y)
%Viscosity Calculates The Viscosity of Earth's Atmosphere as a Function of
%Altitude
% Uses function for viscosity found from excel plot of the 1976 US
% Standard Atmosphere
viscosity = (2*(10^-24))*y^4 - (3*(10^-19))*y^3 + (2*(10^-14))*y^2 - (5*(10^-
10))*y + (2*(10^-5));
end


APPENDIX D Density Function

The function shown below uses the equation found for density as a function of altitude to
calculate the density of the air given the altitude of the previous point.

function [density] = Density(y)
%Density Calculates The Density of Earth's Atmosphere as a Function of
Altitude
% Uses function for density found from excel plot of the 1976 US Standard
% Atmosphere
density = 1.424*exp(-(1*(10^-4))*y);
end

APPENDIX E Quadratic Function

The function shown below is used to calculate the acceleration given the altitude and velocity
of a previous point for the model where only quadratic drag is considered.

function [ a ] = Quadratic(y,v)
%Acceleration Calculates the Acceleration of Felix as a Function of
%Acceleration for Only Quadratic Drag

%Declare Variables
%Mass of Felix Baumgartner
m = 118.182; %units = kg
%Diameter of the Sphere Used to Model Felix Baumgartner
d = 1.5; %units = m
%Mass of the Earth
M = 5.97*10^24; %units = kg
%Radius of the Earth
R = 6.38*10^6; %units = m
%Gravitational Constant
G = 6.67*10^-11; %units = Nm^2/kg^2
%Calculate Acceleration
a = (-((G*M*m)/(y+R)^2) + ((pi/16)*d*Density(y)*v^2))/m;

end

APPENDIX F Linear Function

The function shown below is used to calculate the acceleration given the altitude and velocity
of a previous point for the model where only linear drag is considered.

function [ a ] = Linear(y,v)
%Acceleration Calculates the Acceleration of Felix as a Function of
%Acceleration for Only Linear Drag

%Declare Variables
%Mass of Felix Baumgartner
m = 118.182; %units = kg
%Diameter of the Sphere Used to Model Felix Baumgartner
d = 1.5; %units = m
%Mass of the Earth
M = 5.97*10^24; %units = kg
%Radius of the Earth
R = 6.38*10^6; %units = m
%Gravitational Constant
G = 6.67*10^-11; %units = Nm^2/kg^2
%Calculate Acceleration
a = (-((G*M*m)/(y+R)^2) + (3*pi*d*Viscosity(y)*v))/m;

end