World record at the North Pole | Polarjournal
The parachutists jumped out of the Ilyushin IL-76 from 10,000 meters above the North Pole in quick succession (Photo: ruvds-community).

On Russian Space Day, 12 April 2024, cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko and his companions, flight instructor Alexander Lynnik and Denis Efremov, jumped from 10,000 meters above the North Pole to the ice camp Barneo North Pole. According to the Russian company RuVDS, the parachutists jumped from an Il-76 aircraft at a temperature of minus 55° Celsius. This was the world’s first stratospheric jump over one of the polar regions. The stratosphere begins at the North Pole at an altitude of 8,000 meters.

The team shortly before departure from Murmansk. From left to right: Michail Kornienko, Alexander Lynnik, Denis Efremov (Photo: ruvds-community)

The parachutists had been training for several months and discussed the landing details at length during the planning stage. In the event that they were to land at an unplanned location, a search and rescue team was deployed with helicopters from the Barneo ice camp. Mikhail Kornienko, the main initiator of the record jump over the North Pole, explained that he felt the same as before his flight into space, i.e. responsibility.

According to the team, the air at 10,000 meters was very thin and the parachute would not have had the necessary filling or load-bearing capacity, causing the parachute to only open at an altitude of around 1,000 meters. As a result, the three record holders were in free fall for around two minutes before their parachutes opened.

“Denis Efremov jumped first, Mikhail Kornienko second and Alexander Lynnik last,” commented Mikhail Kornienko on the footage. (Video: Dmitry Glagolev)

Mikhail Kornienko had completed two flights into space as a flight engineer and performed two spacewalks. He also holds the all-time record for a stay in orbit with more than 500 days, including 12 hours in space during his exit from the space station.

Mikhail Kornienko: “It was our people who were the first to make a non-stop flight over the North Pole at the beginning of the last century (…). That’s why I was always convinced that we had to carry out a record jump from the stratosphere over the North Pole.

Denis Efremov shortly before jumping out of the IL-76 airplane. At this altitude, the parachutists and cameramen were equipped with oxygen masks. (Photo: ruvds-community)

In addition, telecommunications company RuVDS stated that server equipment had also been dropped from the Il-76. Nikita Tsaplin, General Director of RuVDS, emphasized that in the Arctic it is necessary to test the equipment’s resistance to Arctic temperatures and difficult conditions and to observe the influence of the northern lights on the signal and other aspects. “In the future, the project will enable a new approach to the use of computing power in the region and open up new opportunities for both scientists and companies,” Tsaplin continued.

Heiner Kubny, PolarJournal

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