This jet fighter pilot brings new meaning to “I can show you the world.” In an emotionally spectacular flight, from a first-person point of view, you watch Earth as seen from space through the Russian pilot’s eyes.
The fighter pilot’s name is Yuri Polyakov. In the video, according to Space Affairs, he is flying a MiG-29 Fulcrum. This particular fighter jet is known to be one of the best in the world. It was a formidable opponent during the Cold War and recent times — that is, until the United States developed its F-22 Raptor technology.
However, when the U.S. acquired information about the MiG-29 jet fighter, something had to be done, as reports Air & Space Magazine.
“Simply by looking at the size and the shape of it, it was clear that the Soviets were developing a counterpart to our F-16 and F/A-18…From all the various intelligence sources and methods that we had for gathering electronic and other information, the U.S. government learned a fair amount about the airplane early on, and it was clear we had to do something.”
And as mentioned, the U.S.’s jet-fighter technology begin to advance to its current position. However, regardless of its limitations, The Aviationist states that the MiG-29 could still be advantageous in a close-air combat situation, even against the United State’s arsenal.
Yet, having capabilities to fly to space as well? Well, as it turns out, Russian pilot Polyakov — with 5,105 total flight hours — is part of a collaborative initiative called Incredible Adventures. In this enterprise, he and other honored pilots perform a number of flight endeavors with patrons who are willing to pay for their services.
In this particular video, the Russian fighter pilot was accompanied by German artist Michael Najjar. This artist does a lot of work with photography and video. According to Space Affairs, it notes Michael as follows.
“Najjar, widely seen as a visual futurist, transmutes science, history and philosophy into visions and utopias of future social structures emerging under the impact of cutting-edge technologies. His current work series ‘outer space’ deals with the latest developments in space flight and the way they will shape our future life on earth and in earth’s near orbit.”
It is understandable why he chose the enterprise to help him with his project. The views were breath-taking, to say the least.
But it brings to question why the two didn’t just drift off into space, right? When is it considered “space” and not Earth’s atmosphere? According to a report by Los Angeles Times, there is no definite mark as to when “space” begins.
However, the consensus is understood to be 62 miles above sea level. And from the data given by Space Affairs, the flight experienced a maximum altitude of 63,976 feet. This only equates to 12 miles above sea level. So, though the Russian pilot and artist had an incredible view of Earth from “space,” they were not anywhere near leaving its gravitational pull.
And that’s another concern. As reports Live Science, according to NASA, they would have had to been traveling at an acceleration of seven miles per second (or a little over 25,000 mph) to escape Earth’s atmosphere. Fortunately for the two, the fighter jet is only capable of traveling Mach 2, which approximates to 1,500 miles per hour. Although this is extremely fast by flight standards, it’s not enough to put a dent in the “drifting into space” concern.
Yet, those numbers are possibly proportional to weight. In the same article from the Los Angeles Times, it mentions a group of students who were testing the launch of a small rocket into space. Since it weighs nowhere near that of a jet fighter (and definitely not a space shuttle), it could travel at a lower speed and still break the atmosphere.
“In the northern Nevada desert, student engineers from the University of Southern California’s Rocket Lab in Los Angeles say they are trying to make history Friday evening by sending a student-built rocket into space.
“By the time the rocket motor burns out in about 13 seconds, it will have gone from zero to six times the speed of sound, or 4,500 miles per hour. If they succeed in getting the aptly named ‘Traveler’ to reach the 62-mile mark, these young engineers will be the first group of students to successfully launch a rocket into space, representing the culmination of several years of work since USC alum Ian Whittinghill dreamed up the idea as a freshman in 2003.”
This experiment took place in 2013. Unfortunately, USC’s Rocket Propulsion Laboratory reported that the experiment ended around 20,000 feet. Apparently, the rocket exploded while “burning too fast.”
All in all, the jet fighter pilot and artist helped provide the world with a phenomenal view. It looks to be an experience most people would dream of taking within their lifetimes.
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[Image Courtesy of YouTube]