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LabVIEW Helps Humans Break the Sound Barrier in Red Bull Stratos Mission


felix-baumgartner-red-bull-stratos-01.jpgYesterday, Austrian daredevil Felix Baumgartner casually leapt from a platform 24 miles high. The near five-minute freefall was viewed live by over 8 million viewers on YouTube alone, during which “Fearless Felix” broke the sound barrier with his body and landed gently in Roswell, New Mexico at 11:30 a.m. Baumgartner and his team spent many years preparing for the record-smashing jump—and the technology they used to ensure his safety included NI LabVIEW software.

Baumgartner’s survival wasn’t guaranteed. If he managed to avoid an unstoppable spin (he narrowly did), his life depended on the integrity of his pressure suit. At 102,800 feet, the temperatures plummet to 70 degrees below zero Fahrenheit. The atmosphere was so thin that his blood would have vaporized if his equipment failed.

Testing his pressurized jump suit and helmet was a larger goal of the mission. His suit, equipped with sensors and recorders, measured everything from his speed to his heart rate. Back at mission control, his team used LabVIEW to monitor various I/O like altitude, pressure, and oxygen levels. In the future, such equipment could save an astronaut's life if a spacecraft malfunctions.

The Red Bull Stratos jump is proof that with proper testing and the right technologies, not even the sky is the limit for human accomplishment. We’d like to wish Baumgartner and his entire team congratulations on behalf of National Instruments.

>> Learn more about LabVIEW here.


I saw it in the News in Hungary. Incredible is nothing.


I love LabVIEW. I used to program in text based language but since 1999 I have been a LabVIEW programmer, I work in the Aerospace/Defense industry and LabVIEW is definitely popular. It is very easy to use yet very powerful. I can easily and quickly develop complex software, and not limited to just Test and Measurements. LabVIEW is just another programming language, all software engineering concepts still apply. And just like writing code in any language, one can have serious bugs, such as a race case. What I see and hear more often when a LabVIEW application crashes, is that “LabVIEW crashed” or “LabVIEW has a bug”- when an app written in C++ crashes you don’t hear that “C++ crashed” or that “C++ has a bug”- I find myself time after time defending and explaining the bug is not with LabVIEW but rather with the code written in LabVIEW. I wish NI could do something to help clear up this negative association and help LabVIEW’s image. Perhaps this article should have read something like “his team developed software in LabVIEW to monitor…”

That is not to say LabVIEW does not have bugs, but they are typically encountered when writing code- not running code.

Congratulations to NI’s LabVIEW team for having their product used on such a huge event. Most may not realize the importance of this space jump, but those in the engineering world know what a big deal this jump really was.

Community Team


Thanks for the comment and feedback. That's a very good point about "LabVIEW crashed" vs. "C++ crashed" or "our application crashed" and it's great to hear that you've had such success in working with LabVIEW!

Along these same lines, you might also find it interesting to see the presence that LabVIEW had in the mission control room of SpaceX's mission to the International Space Station.


NI Community Team
National Instruments

Why is the ABORT button showing in the running VI in the "SpaceX" center?!?!?!??!? Bad Practice!


LV 6.1 to 2015 SP1