Orbital Skydiving: Congratulations, Felix Baumgartner, But Captain Kirk Did It First!

By now, you’ve probably heard of Felix Baumgartner’s record-breaking skydive. In case you didn’t watch the simulcast, here’s the highlight reel:

Baumgartner’s dive looks a lot like a deleted scene from the movie Star Trek: Generations. The film was supposed to open with Chekov and Scotty waiting at the landing site for Captain Kirk’s latest retirement-crisis thrill, orbital skydiving. Here’s a low-quality version of the scene:

Kirk’s skydiving suit doesn’t look all that different from Baumgartner’s. Here’s Kirk:

…and here’s Baumgartner:

Kirk, again, from the back:

…and Baumgartner, from the back:

Here’s Kirk with his chute deployed:

…and here’s Baumgartner with his:

And finally, Kirk on the ground:

…and here’s Baumgartner in roughly the same pose on terra firma:

Here’s a “same pose, different context” pair of shots. In this shot, Kirk is talking about the next orbital skydive he wants to perform, a triple-elliptical where you do three orbits of the earth before re-entering the atmosphere. That sounds pretty cool:

…and here’s Baumgartner waving to the millions of people watching him:

While making the dive, Baumgartner went past the speed of sound (about 1200 km/h or 770 mph). Chekov notes at one point, after hearing his sonic boom, that Captain Kirk has “crossed the sound barrier”:

While the orbital skydiving scene was excised from the film (which was already weighed down with too many subplots), it’s included in the special edition disc, and someone saw fit to post it to YouTube. Here’s a cleaner, longer transfer, complete with introduction and background material:

So, while Baumgartner is due many congratulations, remember this: Captain Kirk did it first!

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