Red Bull Stratos skydive

An essential part of the Red Bull Stratos skydive from the edge of space was the communications – allowing extreme base jumper and skydiver Felix Baumgartner to keep in close touch with his Mission Control room from the 120,000-ft jump platform, back to earth in New Mexico.

Riedel Communications provided the communications for the ambitious project, integrating wireless and wired digital intercom systems, as well as providing the fibre-based video and signal distribution and wireless video links from the jump platform capsule’s onboard cameras.

Having ascended to 24 miles (39km) in a stratospheric balloon and made a freefall jump that saw him break the sound barrier before parachuting to the ground, Baumgartner holds three world records from the jump – the highest skydive, the longest free fall, the first to reach supersonic speeds in free fall and the highest manned balloon ride.

Felix Baumgartner's Red Bull Stratos skydiveFor the ascent capsule/jump platform, Riedel provided onboard video control for nine HD video cameras with especially developed telemetry control. This system was responsible for the video recording and also served as a comprehensive digital video router – not unlike a mini OB truck – inside the capsule. It offered complete remote control of the video system and featured three HD video downlinks that were dynamically assigned to the selected cameras. For communication between Baumgartner and Mission Control, a specially developed communications solution from Riedel Communications was used.

The ground compound, Mission Control, production offices, media/press center and OB truck all used a single communications infrastructure based on a Riedel Artist Digital Matrix system. Artist is a fibre-based communications solutions that offers flexible, reliable and decentralised communication at broadcast quality audio. Its redundant ring topology makes Artist systems an extremely reliable solution for mission critical applications such as the Red Bull Stratos project.

Riedel also provided the on-site digital radio network, with more than 100 radio receivers and ten channels, which were integrated into the wired matrix intercom system. This allowed radio users to directly talk to intercom users, and vice versa.

All video signals on ground were distributed and routed with Riedel’s MediorNet technology – a fibre-based real-time network for HD video, audio, communications and data signals that also provides integrated signal processing. For the Red Bull Stratos project, 24 MediorNet nodes were installed in a redundant ring topology to provide maximum reliability. The connection to the launchpad of the capsule also used a MediorNet system – this time with two MediorNet Compact frames that were connected to the main system. All links in the MediorNet system called on Riedel PURE, an extremely robust, tactical fibre cable for demanding mobile applications that is equipped with ruggedised Neutrik OpticalCon Quad connectors.

The MediorNet backbone transported all video signals of the mission, as well as all signals from the OB truck and from the tracking truck. It also distributed the broadcast audio between Mission Control and recording facility. The data of the telemetry that was used for some broadcast applications, such as the Moving Map, were also handled via MediorNet. In addition to the video transport MediorNet also served as a network backbone for the on-site internet connection providing Ethernet to all areas of the compound.

More: www.riedel.net

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