Dustin Gohmert, head of the crew survival engineering office at NASA, said that the record-breaking achievement could help NASA improve its own spacesuits to ensure better survivability of not only astronauts, but also space tourists and high-altitude pilots and passengers.
He said that spacesuits have changed little since Joe Kittinger's jump in 1960, which held the record until this week when Baumgartner plummeted at 834 miles per hour, significantly faster than the speed of sound. Traditional spacesuits are meant for sitting down in, while Baumgartner's one was designed specifically for the high-altitude fall.
A huge amount of data was collected from the jump, including medical information like the skydiver's heart rate and bloodpressure. This is being analysed by a team led by Dr. Jonathan Clark, a former flight surgeon for NASA, whose wife lost her life in the Columbia space shuttle accident.
At the time of NASA's last shuttle flight last year the possibility of astronauts escaping a disaster situation required that they be no higher than six miles above the Earth and travelling at speeds no greater than 230 miles per hour. Baumgartner's successful fall from 24 miles above Earth at 834 miles per hour shows that it is possible for a more daring escape.
Baumgartner's descent could have went very badly, however, and it almost did when he initially launched into an out-of-control spin for around 40 seconds, with two and a half times the force of gravity hitting his body, which could have caused him to black out and suffer a stroke. He managed to correct his position into a downward V-shape, and this could be the deciding technique for surviving similar jumps.