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National Air and Space Museum Displays Suit Worn on Record-Breaking Jump

Alan Eustace’s Suit on View at Museum’s Udvar-Hazy Center

December 15, 2016

The suit Alan Eustace wore on his record-breaking freefall jump in October 2014 is now on display at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum. Visitors to the museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Va., can view the suit and the balloon equipment module in the Boeing Aviation Hangar.

“The museum is very excited to now have this suit and balloon system in our collection,” said Cathleen Lewis, space history curator at the museum. “It serves as an excellent example of both human achievement and ingenuity in spacesuit technology.”

Eustace, a computer scientist and lifelong aviation and parachuting enthusiast, founded StratEx: The Stratospheric Exploration Project, with the goal of creating a self-contained system for humans to explore the stratosphere. On Oct. 24, 2014, Eustace ascended to the upper reaches of the stratosphere (to 41,419 meters/135,890 feet), was then released from his balloon and skydived back to Earth in 14 minutes and 19 seconds, breaking the world record for highest altitude free-fall jump.

The suit he wore is a one-of-a-kind system manufactured by Paragon Space Development, United Parachute Technologies and ILC Dover, the company that has made spacesuits for NASA since the Apollo program. It is made of both state-of-the-art materials and off-the-shelf technologies. The balloon equipment module, also on display, had to carry Eustace’s body through the initial stages of his ascent. The parachute module stabilized his body in the upper limits of his fall where there is little or no air resistance. Both had to take the structural strain of a hot air balloon carrying 35,000 cubic feet of helium that expanded to the size of a football stadium.

The National Air and Space Museum building on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., is located at Sixth Street and Independence Avenue S.W. The museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center is located in Chantilly, Va., near Washington Dulles International Airport. Attendance at both buildings combined was 8 million in 2015, making it the most-visited museum in America. Both buildings are open from 10 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. every day (closed Dec. 25). The museum’s mobile app, GO FLIGHT, allows visitors to connect with the collection and its stories beyond the museum’s walls.

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SI-630-2016

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Alison Mitchell
(202) 633-2376 
mitchellac@si.edu

Nick Partridge 
(202) 633-2374 
partridgen@si.edu

Alan Eustace freefall silhouetted against sun
Related photos: 

Alan Eustace

Space suite on display

Dane Penland

The suit Alan Eustace wore during his record-breaking freefall jump in Oct. 2014 is now on display at the National Air and Space Museum's Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Va. The suit he wore is a one-of-a-kind system manufactured by Paragon Space development, United Parachute Technologies and ILC Dover, the company that has made spacesuits for NASA since the Apollo program.

Related photos: 

Alan Eustace

Freefall suit on display

Dane Penland

The suit Alan Eustace wore during his record-breaking freefall jump in Oct. 2014 is now on display at the National Air and Space Museum's Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Va. The suit is a one-of-a-kind system manufactured by Paragon Space development, United Parachute Technologies and ILC Dover, the company that has made spacesuits for NASA since the Apollo program.



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