Felix Baumgartner’s 120,000-feet skydive saw Riedel Communications provide the entire communications solution for the record-breaking project.
Integrating both wireless and wired digital intercom systems for the project, Riedel furnished the fiber-based video and signal distribution, as well as the wireless video links from the capsule’s onboard cameras, allowing pictures to be delivered from the Red Bull Stratos capsule.
Baumgartner, extreme base jumper and skydiver, ascended to 24 miles (39 kilometers) in a stratospheric balloon and made a freefall jump, heading towards earth at supersonic speeds before parachuting to the ground and breaking three world records with one jump; the highest skydive, the longest free fall, the first to reach supersonic speeds in free fall and the highest manned balloon ride.
To enable communications between Baumgartner, all the team members at the launch site and mission control, Red Bull utilised a comprehensive communications solution from Riedel Communications.
For the capsule that transported Baumgartner into the stratosphere, Riedel Communications provided the on-board video control system for nine HD video cameras with specially developed telemetry control. This system was responsible for the control of the video recording and also works as a comprehensive digital video router – similar to a mini OB truck inside the capsule. This offered full remote control of the whole video system and featured three HD video downlinks that were dynamically assigned to the selected cameras.
The communications infrastructure on-site included the entire compound, the mission control, the production offices, the media/press centre and the OB truck. Each of these facilities and positions were integrated into one single communications infrastructure via a Riedel Artist Digital Matrix system. Artist is a fiber-based communications solutions that is designed to offer flexible, reliable and decentralszed communications in broadcast quality audio. Its redundant ring topology was therefore deemed an ideal solution for critical applications such as the Red Bull Stratos project.
Furthermore, Riedel equipped 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 meant that radio users were able to directly talk to intercom users and vice versa.
All video signals on the ground were distributed and routed with Riedel’s MediorNet technology. For the Red Bull Stratos project, 24 Riedel MediorNet nodes were installed in a redundant ring topology to provide maximum reliability. In case of a potential connection loss between two nodes, the signals would have still been distributed due to the redundant topology. Connection to the launch pad of the capsule was also achieved with the MediorNet system – this time with two MediorNet Compact frames that were connected to the main system. All links in the MediorNet system were realised with Riedel PURE, a fiber cable designed for use in demanding mobile applications that comes equipped with Neutrik OpticalCON Quad connectors.
The MediorNet system transported all video signals of the Red Bull Stratos 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. Furthermore, the data of the telemetry that was used for some broadcast applications, such as the Moving Map, was transported via MediorNet.
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