Felix Baumgartner: Unwitting Role Model

Felix Baumgartner. Not the role model I’d hoped he’d be. Oh well. Credit: REX

Two weeks ago, Austrian daredevil and skydiver Felix Baumgartner jumped 120,000 feet from a balloon. It was neat, but that’s about it. It was a stunt funded by RedBull. My opinion on the jump as a whole can be found in full here.

Yesterday, I woke up to Baumgartner’s first interview since the jump. In the last two weeks, he’s become something of a celebrity. Across social media sites, he’s been lauded as the Neil Armstrong for a new generation (a view I strongly disagree with but will save for another rant). With a worldwide audience hanging on his words, I’d hoped Baumgartner would emerge as a spokesman for the value of the technology coming out of our space program and the need to study space to learn about the Earth. Instead, he accused NASA of wasting money exploring Mars. I finished reading the interview, got really irritated before 7 o’clock in the morning (far too early), then calmed down. My measured response to Baumgartner’s interview is over at AmericaSpace.

Comments

  1. Jasper says

    Bah. What a disappointing man. Not a hero at all. Just an opportunist without any knowledge on space. However I kind of hate all that “from the edge of space” idiocy myself. It isn’t even half way up. Baumgartner was just making a rather hight parachute jump. And by reading the reactions, it now seems he’s still falling.

  2. Markus says

    So much irony in his words, considering he’s just come off a stunt which had the primary purpose of generating revenue for his lemonade sponsor, and very little else. Lots of money was spent on that whole endeavour (one might think: wasted) and it did absolutely nothing to “improve life” for other people. You could say what he did was as “senseless” (if not more so) as the things he has criticized as such – it had been done before, and it didn’t really teach us anything new. He’s clearly shooting his opinion from the hip and hasn’t exactly thought things through before dropping such remarks.

  3. Victorinox says

    Wait… did Baumgartner just said he wanted a “moderate dictatorship”???:

    http://www.kleinezeitung.at/sport/stratos/3152273/baumgartner-wuerden-gemaessigte-diktatur-brauchen.story?version=online

    Translated version here:
    http://www.microsofttranslator.com/bv.aspx?from=de&to=en&a=http://www.kleinezeitung.at/sport/stratos/3152273/baumgartner-wuerden-gemaessigte-diktatur-brauchen.story?version=online

    Red Bull needs a better screening process… because this guy in a couple of days went from Hero to Zero.

  4. John Calhoun says

    I wouldn’t get too worked up about this guy. A year or two from now no one will remember him. In fact, a few weeks later now and the whole thing already seems to have fallen off the radar so to speak.

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