Up, Up, and away, in my beautiful, my beautiful balloon…that is how the old song goes (with a much better voice than i will ever have). This was how i envisioned Michel Fournier’s scientific experiment starting off…with that little song running through my head, as i watched the replay on the evening news! No such luck.
It was reported today that the balloon somehow became detached and floated into the sky without the capsule. How in the world could this have happened? That balloon cost something like two hundred thousand dollars or so. How could it have become detached without someone noticing, before this could derail Mr. Fournier’s attempt to lift off?
The poor man, yesterday his experiment of going up in a capsule attached to a special made helium balloon, to set a few records, was cancelled due to the weather. He had already had a couple of other attempts that were aborted in 2002 and 2003 due to the balloon being ripped apart before it could even get up into the air.
Now this experiment, that he was attempting was important but, extremely dangerous and never before been attempted by anyone else, to my knowledge. He was going to go up in the capsule attached to the helium balloon to then skydive from an amazing heighth…something like 131,000 feet if i remember correctly….planes fly at like 39,000 feet. That is wild to someone like me who is afraid of heighths. But not for Mr. Fournier who is a former paratrooper…this would have been a dream.
It wasn’t just for “fun”…the experiment was also to document data for astronauts and scientists to see the effect on the human body in the highest altitudes. Michel would also be wearing a pressure suit much like they wear in space because at a certain height…a person can develop a blood clot…or ewwwww, the blood can “boil”. Yuck!
Mr. Fournier wanted to set four records by setting the fastest and the longest free fall (he is a skydiver) as well as the highest documented balloon flight & the highest parachute jump on record.
I can’t begin to imagine the extreme disappointment he must be feeling. He has spent a fortune trying to make this happen over the years. He has run out of money from the sounds of it…so this could have been his last attempt. Maybe …just maybe…it was the big guy up above, looking out for him…maybe he would not have survived such an attempt! Still, i do feel for him…his disappointment must be immense.