Three Russians Set World Record Parachuting from Stratosphere to North Pole

Three Russian skydivers set a new world record by parachuting from the stratosphere to the North Pole, testing a prototype Arctic communication system during their descent in extreme cold conditions.

Nimrah Khatoon
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Three Russians Set World Record Parachuting from Stratosphere to North Pole

Three Russians Set World Record Parachuting from Stratosphere to North Pole

In a remarkable feat of human endurance and technological innovation, three Russian skydivers set a new world record on April 12, 2024, by parachuting from the Earth's stratosphere directly to the North Pole. Mikhail Korniyenko, Alexander Lynnik, and Denis Yefremov jumped from an altitude of 34,450 feet (10,500 meters) from an Ilyushin-76 aircraft, testing a new prototype Arctic communication system during their descent.

The trio spent about two and a half minutes in freefall, battling extreme temperatures that reached -58°F (-50°C), which felt like -94°F (-70°C) with wind chill, before opening their parachutes 1,000 meters above the ground. Despite wearing heated masks, the skydivers suffered frostbite on their cheeks due to the severe cold conditions at the boundary between the troposphere and stratosphere.

Upon landing near Russia's Barneo polar base, Korniyenko, Lynnik, and Yefremov quickly set up a satellite communication system prototype that was parachuted onto the ice prior to their jump. Using diesel generators, they powered up a server and successfully established a link to a satellite, demonstrating the potential for improved connectivity in the challenging Arctic environment.

Why this matters: The Arctic region has become increasingly important geopolitically, with global powers vying for strategic advantages. Reliable communication is vital in this remote frontier, and this mission represents a significant step towards developing innovative, low-cost solutions for accessing satellite networks from the Arctic.

The experimental communication system, while still a prototype, aims to provide a cheaper alternative to the U.S.-based Iridium Communications. The research group plans to continue testing the system for the next month, despite the cancellation of the Barneo ice camp for the season. "The system is not as capable as Iridium, but we were able to transfer data, demonstrating progress towards a low-cost solution for accessing satellite communication from the Arctic region," said Korniyenko.

The world-record jump, which coincided with the anniversary of Yuri Gagarin's first human spaceflight, required extensive preparation. The skydivers underwent tests in heat and pressure chambers to combat the extreme conditions they would face during the freefall. The descent was captured in a spectacular video, showcasing the courage and skill of these Russian adventurers as they pushed the boundaries of human achievement in one of the world's harshest environments.

Key Takeaways

  • 3 Russian skydivers set new world record by parachuting from stratosphere to North Pole
  • Jumped from 34,450 ft, battled extreme -58°F (-50°C) temperatures with -94°F (-70°C) wind chill
  • Tested prototype Arctic communication system, successfully established satellite link on landing
  • Aims to provide cheaper alternative to US-based Iridium Communications for Arctic connectivity
  • Feat showcased human endurance and innovation, coincided with Gagarin's spaceflight anniversary