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How do jetpacks work? And why don't we all have them? - Richard Browning


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In 1961, Yuri Gagarin piloted a spacecraft in humanity’s first manned space flight. A week later, Bell Aerosystems debuted a gas-powered rocket pack that could fly 35 meters in 13 seconds. Unfortunately, engineers knew this short flight was all the rocket pack could muster. So why was a massive spacecraft easier to send flying than a single pilot? Richard Browning investigates.

Additional Resources for you to Explore

Learn about Frank Whittle, the inventor of jet engines, here. Read about the history of the jet engine & how it works here, and the history of Jet-packs here.

A Jet-Suit paramedic could transport life-saving equipment to those in need quickly. Read more about it here. A Jet-Suit could allow elite units to board a ship more quickly than dropping people by helicopter or climbing aboard from another vessel. A jet-suit might provide quick evacuation for elite units, and it could easily cover mined areas or clear rivers/water and reach those in need with information or supplies. Other uses of Jet Suits might include evacuating people doing dangerous jobs, such as dam repair, reaching and evaluating land devastated by natural disasters.

Dive into the history of Gravity Industries and learn about them from this issue of STEM magazine. The book Taking on Gravity by Richard Browning can be purchased here. Watch Browning's TED talk about the early invention and progress of the jet suit. Find the latest activities and videos of Gravity Industries by following them on Facebook, YouTube, and LinkedIn. You can also find them on Instagram and TikTok using the handle @TAKEONGRAVITY.

Click the links below to find out how the Jet Suit works, the design and placement of engines, and what happens if things go wrong! These three episodes Gravity Industries Jet Suit innovation feature Richard Browning, who is an inventor and one of the educators of this TED-Ed lesson.
EP1. - 1000bhp Gravity Jet Suit Explained: Jet Engines & human control
EP2. Engines on legs? Richard explains why Gravity don't use them but reveals unseen test footage!
EP3. EPIC FAILS! Gravity Team Pilots Review! 

People love flying jet-suits! Flight experiences are currently bookable at the famous UK Goodwood Racetrack. Gravity have flown to inspire and entertain all over the world, including the opening ceremony of the Tokyo 70th anniversary of Baseball and at a Cisco live corporate event.

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TED-Ed Animations feature the words and ideas of educators brought to life by professional animators. Are you an educator or animator interested in creating a TED-Ed Animation? Nominate yourself here »

Meet The Creators

  • Educator Richard Browning, Debbie Browning
  • Director Mitch Hearn, Lisa Vertudaches
  • Narrator Bethany Cutmore-Scott
  • Storyboard Artist Mitch Hearn
  • Animator Mitch Hearn, Lisa Vertudaches
  • Compositor Mitch Hearn
  • Art Director Mitch Hearn, Lisa Vertudaches
  • Music Cem Misirlioglu
  • Sound Designer Cem Misirlioglu
  • Director of Production Gerta Xhelo
  • Editorial Director Alex Rosenthal
  • Producer Bethany Cutmore-Scott
  • Editorial Producer Dan Kwartler
  • Script Editor Alex Gendler
  • Fact-Checker Jennifer Nam

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