Is this a stunt? Clark scoffs at the suggestion. It is a scientific endeavor for him. His wife Laurel was one of the seven astronauts on the space shuttle Columbia when it broke up over Texas in 2003. A spacesuit like the one designed for this mission he said, might have saved her life.
"What the Red Bull Stratos does for me in some way is justify the loss of the of the Columbia crew," said Clark, "because it has pushed us to say we will never give up, we will always try to bring an un-survivable situation into a survivable realm. So for me this is personally important. It could lead to better crew escape systems. "
Weather is critical because the massive balloon is fragile and tears easily; it can't launch with winds in excess of 4 mph or under heavy cloud cover. Meteorologist Don Day also needs to consider where winds will push Baumgartner when he lands -- preferably not in the mountains west of the launch site.