Pics Austrian high-altitude geezer Felix Baumgartner had better watch his back, because there's a furry Brit contender for the world skydiving record preparing to leap into the void from a breathtaking 39,000m.
Tomorrow (Saturday), weather permitting, Raspberry Pi Mascot Babbage Bear will ascend to the stratosphere over the green fields of Blighty before making his jump into the history books.
Those readers who've been following our Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) project will already have guessed that the man behind this audacious "Ted Bull Stratos" bid is Dave Akerman, balloon and Pi-wrangling head honcho for our spaceplane mission.
As you can see from the above snap of Babbage, he's undergone a few mods ahead of tomorrow's mission.
First up, the poor chap's had his right eye surgically removed to allow installation of the PiCam, which is attached to the very model A Raspberry Pi, GPS unit and radio transmitter which recently successfully recorded the white-knuckle stratodangle of our Covert High Altitude Vehicle (CHAV) aircraft.
Here's the Pi before insertion into Babbage...
...and if you take another look at the first photo above, you'll see he subsequently ended up with the yellow cable transmission aerial "protruding from the logical place".
Ouch. Dave has lovingly crafted a foam launch capsule for Babbage, which also packs a camera. Both cams will grab and transmit stills throughout the flight, except for eight minutes from around 38,000m when they'll record video - which is plenty of time to capture the epic moment.
There's more from Dave right here, including this summary of how Baumgartner's Red Bull Stratos and Bionic Babbage's Ted Bull Stratos stack up:
|Red Bull Stratos||Ted Bull Stratos|
|Pilot||Felix Baumgartner||Bionic Babbage|
|Cameras||Capsule and Suit||Capsule and bionic eye|
|Capsule Weight||1300 kg||200 g|
|Balloon Volume at launch||5000 m³||3 m³|
|Jump Altitude||38,969 metres||39,000 metres (est)|
The rest of LOHAN team will be kicking back in front of their PCs tomorrow with a nice cup of tea tomorrow to see how the attempt pans out, and we wish Dave a successful day off from constructing the LOHAN Iridium-Arduino emergency sandwich and its preposterous abort box. ®