No, Red Bull does NOT have a better space program than the US

The picture below is circulating around teh interwebz, and while it's good for a smile, I'm seeing folks agreeing with its sentiments.

I myself do not. It's wrong. The US space program is actually doing pretty well (ignoring looming budget cuts which may or may not materialize). We can't put humans in space at this exact moment, but we're sitting on the very cusp of a potential golden age of space travel for humans. And it's only a couple of years down the line.

I rant about this on my blog, and show precisely why I'm very hopeful about the future of space exploration:
Ron Page's profile photoTony George's profile photoSean P. O. MacCath-Moran's profile photokelly mthethwa's profile photo
Mark Ayers
A space program should inspire the nation, and that's exactly what NASA did in the late 60's. And that's exactly what Red Bull's jump did.
I don't see any energy drinks on Mars. 
My first thought on seeing that meme was, "Get back to me when you can wander around Mars."
It doesn't, but it sure makes you think.  The contention is that our national program could do so much better, and the problem is only partially money.
They don't. And Red Bull clearly does not give you wings either. Did you see how fast he fell?
Simeon G
Mars? No need to go that far. Redbull hasn't put anyone (or anything) in orbit yet!
It could also be referring to Austria's space programme, then it might be accurate.
Certainly beats Denmark's space programme, which consists of riding the occasional research satellite piggyback on someone else's rocket.
Simeon G
+Mark Ayers I disagree. This one Red Bull Stratos jump CANNOT be compared with the 60's space race. SpaceX might be a better comparison. But skydiving? No offense, I watched nearly every minute of it and loved it, but it doesn't rank up there with all the cool stuff coming out of NASA or SpaceX. Not even close!
That was my first thought too but then I realized it was very u.s. centric to think that it was in reference to my country. There are a lot of countries out there with sub-par or no space programs :)
That. Also: since when is an altitude of 39km considered "space"?
Philip I hope you are correct about being on the cusp of a golden age.  I would love to see us continue what we started in the sixties.  I fear though that it is China on the cusp. I don't blame NASA, they are fantastic, I blame congress and an uneducated populous.
I think the next step for Baumgartner (and Red Bull if they're interested) is put Felix Baumgartner on a space flight to the ISS and have him jump from there! 
+Alizée Rait Unfortunately it will only be considered a true achievement when an actual human does it, rather than a robot. Robots are still great achievements, but it is the human experience that we all want to see as recognition of moving forward as a species. It is why getting a man on the moon was so significant.
Spaceship Two is designed to go to 110km == 360,000 ft
Would you rather have people thinking that the space program is not funded enough (it isn't) or that it is over-funded and ripe for cost cutting? I would prefer the former so hope that the meme grows in strength.
Every nation on Earth should be pooling resources and working together as a true international endeavour and reap the full benefits of a combined fund to move the race forward.
Heh, heh, and how much of Red Bull's technology was developed, tested, enhanced, and retested by +NASA?
I'm having trouble combining these two sentences: "The US space program is actually doing pretty well" and "we can't put humans in space at this exact moment". Something doesn't sound right there at all to me.
Space exploration doesn't mean "sending people".  We can do so much more, sooner, cheaper, safer via probes and satellites.  Now is the right time for this phase.  I'm with you - I want people to go (and be one of them) but it's not quite feasible at the moment.  We can work toward that, yes.  But in the meantime let's concentrate on seeing what wonders we can find. 
Phil, I've been having this same rant with people I know.  Thanks for once again expressing my thoughts more eloquently than I can.
In some fairness, the meme is not that off, assuming you're Canadian. When we do hear about the Canadian Space Agency's contributions, its as a footnote to another country's achievements.
At least, that is how it seems...
Why can't we have A LOT of BOTH?? Chinese explorers of 6-7 Cent BCE, the Roman expansion of the BCE/CE transit, the colonial expansion of the 14-15th centuries...they all happened as a combination of folks trying to find something new and do something new.
"It is difficult to hold out hope for STEM research and education when there's a person on the House Science and Technology Committee who believes that the earth was made 9000 years ago in 6 days, and another that believes that a woman cannot get pregnant from a rape."

Excellent point. 
I think the one who did this picture is from a country with an actual space program, probably from USA! All what he did is a try to put a smile on everyone face following that amazing breathtaking mission by directing this picture to people in countries with no space programs at all!

So everyone, relax and keep that smile!
Redbull has a better space program than my nation ;op

Anywho, just a joke. Relax ;o)
Hmm... Any country that could pull this off (and I think most could if they prioritized it) would still not have a "space program".
A potato sack could have made that jump. Meanwhile, we're on mars lazering rocks.
The picture doesn't say it's talking about NASA and the USA, though, does it? For the vast majority of countries on the planet, the caption remains valid.
Space program? You don't even have public transport.
Nope. This time Red Bull wins. I've waited for us to revive our manned space program for almost 40 years. I'm done waiting. Go Red Bull!
I bet Red Bull have a better space program than Djibouti though.
Perception is reality.  If this is not true, but most people believe that it is, the effect is still the same.
It's not Red Bull's space program we need to worry about, it's the Red Bull Ballistic Missile program that's cause for alarm.
Red Bull doesn't have a "space program", it has an aeronautical program.
Yet, some of you still have not heard of SPACE X.  Ugggh.
It's like you live under a rock, and all you do is stare at cat pictures.
I think you took a meme a little too seriously, there pal!
Thing is, there's a lot of knucklehead kids who took it seriously. 
Heh, it is a funny meme - laughed first time I saw it. I like the Assassin's Creed one, too.
I am really tired of seeing redbull on everything. 
I thought it was in reference to other nation's space program.
That awkward moment when someone takes a silly meme too seriously then overcompensates with a whiny post.
There are, however, nations of which this is truth. Given that the picture hasn't singled out the U.S. in any meaningful way (though it may be implicit) it isn't entirely wrong.
That awkward moment when you realize that your nation(Russian) really have a worse space program than an energy drink company.
This picture is being passed around on the *Internet* which is not limited to the US. Neither the universe nor the internet revolves around the US.
My Nation doesn't have a space I'm ok with it :)
Energy drimk has a better space program than MANY nations. Just not the USA. lol
Think this was a bit of humour that you have taken way to seriously!
energy drinks are more powerful than any drink
I didn't think it was about the US. There are tons of other countries that it certainly applies to. 
I can't believe this conversation is even happening.
Sigh. Just because he's wearing a pressure suit, doesn't mean it has ANYTHING to do with SPACE, for crissakes. Despite media claims to the contrary, 23 miles is NOT the edge of space.
"The "Edge of Space" jump: A corresponding fall to a schoolroom globe begins 1 millimeter above its surface. I'm just saying." - Neil deGrasse Tyson
American in 'failing to acknowledge the rest of the world' shock.
That's New Mexico, USA way down there. Just sayin. 
For those saying this is American provincialism on my part, again the point I am making goes toward the comments I am seeing on FB and Twitter, which were predominantly from folks in the US.
+Phillip Plait, are you sure it's aimed at the US seeing red bull and Felix come from Austria. Even if it was, IT'S A JOKE.
The Tick said it best, "Gravity is a harsh mistress."
Ok now I got it, besides that the drink gives you wings also gives you GUTS to jump.....just to clarify USA been on real space program since the 50s and this is way far from the NASA goals, but my respect to Felix the human jumper :)
It doesn't mention the US dumbass!
I'm utterly confused by the continued backlash against this which assume the entire world is American.  There are, surprisingly enough, a great number of nations that are Not America.
Course this was done in the 60s by the US Airforce. I don't think that guy broke the sound barrier however.
Had not seen this one.

Still waiting for your critique of Apple's "Physics" commercial, though.  I'm a fan of Apple's computers (though less impressed with their phones), but I find the commercial dangerous considering Apple's influence.
a spaceprogram isn't what my nation needs now...
Call Me Paranoid...but i dont think we have a couple of years
Redbull has better marketing than NASA - Why don't the two join forces?
"This caption on the image would not be true if the current White House Administration didnt gut the space program"

Nuf said.
Matt C
NASA was doing this level of work like 60 years ago.
+Dawid Bezuidenhout do you think his balls helped him in his free fall? Or counterweight gravity to compensate size of his brain?
They may not have a better program, but I still could care less. 
+Benedek Nagy  how about a little perspective? To be honest we probably need a successful space program now more than ever. Our only hope is in the stars. Space tech R&D is pretty much the best investment that we've ever made in any government program.
yeah if your from India...
hmm let me see

- Red Bull, Austrian company
- Baumgartner, Austrian person

... you don't think maybe, just maybe, that it might possibly be referring to,... wait for it,...  *Austria* 
Jack Roux - I must have missed it, and appreciate your spotting it.  Do you have a link handy?
We're passing our space program to the Russians and Private sector. NASA is back 2 square one as far as the big "reusable spacecraft" "space airlines" we got sold in the 80s. 

We spend billions on war nothing on space and everyone is too busy watching dancing with the stars to give a shit.
Feels is saying God I shouldn't have had eggs for breakfast gota get out of here it stinks lol
Didn't scan the 106 comments above mine, but when I read that, I read it as if it were directed to the hundreds of 2nd/3rd world nations around the world who actually don't have a better space program than an energy drink company.
+Philip Plait Hey bro, clearly everyone around here has to be joking by comparing a 1x deal to the lifetime achievements of the nasa space program. I know I am commenting for the fun and jokes part, anyone seriously trying to say RedBalls,I mean RedBull & Vodka, damn it, i mean Red Bull, clearly must've drank a few b4 posting. :)
I wish people could take a shot at defining "space" - it doesn't begin at 24 miles up...
Although I think this is funny, I never thought of it as serious. Its just a joke, I don't see the need to "rant" about it really...some people are just extremely gullible. to bad for them I say...
I wish americans would stop thinking they're the only country in the world.

nowhere in that image does it say that "your country" are the USA.
Isn't this comment more towards the other nations of the world?
Tara Li
Saying robots in space is better than humans in space for exploring is like saying cybersex is better than physical sex.
Considering how the private industry seems to be able to do things cheaper, that is at least a nice thought.
I agree that assuming this was about the US is arrogant.
There's not an enormous amount to be learned from jumping from a balloon at enormous altitude.  But it makes a pretty spectacular publicity stunt, so it makes quite a lot of sense for an energy drink to sponsor it.
Friends, would you have a master builder building at all hours? or training 10-20 soon-to-be master-quality builders while working out the kinks of the overall plan? Red Bull worked out the suit and the jump (with NASA support). their marketing got them the money for it. GO HAVE A GREAT TIME.
lol... private companies are keeping the ISS crew alive, not NASA. 

This picture is accurate. 
Red bull gives you wings, does that mean we are all angels?! Or that Red Bull is God? Take the picture as it was intended -- as a joke.
The suit is part of devel for next gen manned space flight.
Mr Branson has the fliable wagons. and flying launch platform. THINK. Even not-so-environment-unfriendly solid propellant in back of people... 
It's funny, I'll agree... I'm not sure how I feel about the statement in it's actuality. When NASA was new and the country felt a near unanimous need, we made great strides. But as the usual bureaucracy and BS started it lost it's edge. 
Here is my question: At one time we could budget for military, Space,etc and it sort of worked. Now we have to cut all of them and it works less good, so where is the inflation at? Somewhere the percentage has grown. I'll bet it is in the number of government employees and the amount they are paid....
Dear Mr philip plait, your assuming that every 1 reads this is an american citizen, where it is in fact true for most other countries on the planet
Fact : ther r more Mexicans than Americans in the u.s 
And i take these two. Look at spaceX and the Falcon 9. All business. but in the end, it IS the space program!!
+Christopher Browne  i disagree with you. think about the possibility of travel like this. jumping with some sort of navy system and guidance wings so you could go up and then drop down to say boston instead of taking the bus? i know it sounds stupid right now but all ideas start as something inconceivable and then they become a reality. ask whomever heard about the phone and trying to explain them back then that you could now talk to someone in L.A from N.Y in real time? i mean seriously. im not saying this technology is going to take us there but everything we learn is about our anatomy and the universe is priceless.
Our job, us reading this, is to keep pointing the minds and creativity of the next generations, to the future. To tomorrow. WHO THOUGHT of digging a pit and filling it with FOAM to practice JUMPS?  A skater! but he WAS thinking of the future. Of business...

<< SMILE >>
1. Red Bull don't have a space programme.
2. Many private companies have "Space programmes" are standing on the shoulders of giants so to speak. They would never have got even close without the knowledge NASA and other related organisations have built up over the years.
the worst part of dealing with anyone from the US is their xenophobic view of the world.
Whoever created this photo is brainless. IT is not as simple as that.
This picture does not even represent a space program. The guy is jumping from a balloon, not a space craft!
Ok I want to see Redbull send a rover to Mars. 
It was meant for a laugh people. Why so serious
Small nitpick, does anybody know if the image creator (well, caption creator to be exact) is from the US? because I'm not, so this applies to me (or my country rather), maybe it does for him too.
I interpreted it as OTHER contries. Not the US. *coughNorthKorea
Ironic thing of this Red Bull sponsored jump is that it is highly unlikely (because of health and safety considerations) that he was allowed to drink a Red Bull before the jump. 
Seriously... You felt you needed to address this? Way to fight the internets injustices. You're a hero. 
I think the gave him a bit to much redbull
I think most people understand this is not true...  I would hope so anyway.  I do however think that it's hilarious!
We landed a car size rover in Mars and people think we still don't have a good space program?
People just think Red Bull has a better space program because it was someone thank you could see / watch. NASA does a ton of research, but you can't really watch a livestream of "research". Well, you get what I mean.
You're right, of course.  But who said the image was for the US?

The flip side of it is that an energy drink company just funded a record breaking flight / space event for fun.  Meanwhile, NASA is trying to scrape together enough cash to pay for their outsourced supply rocket trips.
The comment goes to the image creator. I correct myself, thanks! It is not as simple as it looks.

And even if it was from the US it may be a tourist or a brain deprived individual- If it were as simple as the photo implies..........   even the whales would be sending up base jumpers!
In case you hadn't noticed there is more than one country on Earth!
I know it may be hard for you to hear, but a lot of countries don't even have a space program, have you ever thought the snark was directed to them?
Excuse me sir, but there is ONLY the rest of the World outside US, so this pic could be easily referred to the other 19x countries... ;)
But Red Bull didn't steal money from me to help pay for their program.
Classic case of somebody taking satire entirely too seriously...
let me know next time redbull sends a rover (or anything) to Mars
Yes but redbull help a man breake the sound barrier and didnot need a launch allthey needed was a crane and a helium balloon
Wow. This is the single largest collection of Poindexterish, "Well technically that graphic is incorrect because the square of the length of the hypotenuse is actually the sum of the squares of the lengths of *both of the cheeks of my arse". Yeah? And the graphic still has legs as a meme. Ask yourself why instead of sucking the humor out of the thread.
>caption does not mention USA
>jumper is not from usa
>caption apt in his nation and most of the world
>rebuttal assumes America must be at centre of attention
>jimmies rustled; much yankee rah rah rah
>thank you; I lol'd

>worth noting: rebuttal, though pointless and silly in worldview, still holds water
So USA is not a nation? It simply says, "your nation" which in my case, it's the USA. So I guess, you should contact whoever created this meme and ask him to change it? 
+Charles Rice Don't give them any ideas.  Mars is it would be the perfect place for a new logo.  They'd do it.  You know they would.
Philip don't kid yourself man, travel for humans is very far away. At least a few decades, perhaps several decades. Too many unknowns out there!
admire the sentimentalist space program to develop the state of red bull
meh, space belongs to the private sector anyways
Yes, the USA has an excellent space program. I think the misses part of this joke is the home nation. What his name is from australia. The joke is red bull has a better space program that australia. 
So true Philip, esp since falling from a ballon has been done  approx 60 years ago. This does not make a space program. Just an exspensive record to break.
For people thinking that it refers to other nations, did you read Phil's article?  Red Bull doesn't have a space program.  They were not in space, by any definition that I know of.

The meme is cute and funny until you see it posted multiple times with the comment "so true!" and the strong impression that people actually believe that.
I would slap you for your stupidity OP. The US is not the only nation in the world.
The funny part is your inability to conceive that this could refer to any nation but the US. There is a whole world out there...
I for one do agree.. I feel that everything is going the way of private enterprise. Things only get done nowadays when a private company funds it. 
The Redbull jump had nothing to do with space, either.  Space starts at 62 miles/100km officially.
yeah the US space program used to be good, but know thatnks to budget cuts, its only have of what it used to be.
Hey +Tara Mulder... mexican here. Not only that. I'm been involved with some people in space programs in my country. And about a manned space program I realized an energy drink has a better space program that my nation still. Now go and spend some time thinking about those poor countries that do not have a space agency, let alone some space program ;-)
Whatever is the case, Red Bull aerospace experiments are better than most in that area in my country XD
NASA should get some corp. sponsors, lets say Monster Energy and put its logo on the rocket booster make a big spectacle out of it. 
Did everyone forget what country he is from?  It is not the USA.
someone break this pic down for me... im not even going to prtend to understand the fuss
The meme does not specifically say that it's a better program that the U.S. but there are countries out there with worse space programs than Redbull. 
R. R. P
Relax Clarence
Im form Mexico, and for me it seems RedBull has a better space program then MY country. (Which it really isnt, as Mexico had self-built several satellites, but put in orbit with the help of other space agencies).

+Philip Plait: you are not the only person in the world, and neither USA is the only country there is.
Think of most South American, Asian, and African countries. RedBull has a better "space program" than those nations.
Bailout of doomed launches has not been tested or implemented by NASA, or other international agencies. With this proof of concept by a lowly beverage maker, future designs will have to accommodate the technology. I also understand that a few private enterprises will lease to the Orbital station space for supplies and other needs not covered by the shuttle anymore.
Before any more people make ignorant comments saying the space program is "stealing your money" just realize the tax is about half a penny on the dollar. You know the tax for military is 42% of every taxed dollar and is the biggest tax we pay for. NASA research has brought about a trickle down of technologies that everyone uses. Teflon, fiber optics, cell phones just to name a few. If anything, they should see more funding, but too many people in this country are selfish for that to happen anytime soon. I'd say make the military more efficient, shut down unnecessary bases and bring home some national defense, and then dump some of that money (it would be a lot!) into NASA and some into cancer research. Maybe I have different priorities for our future than some people, but to say that the tiny tax we pay to NASA is unjustified is simply wrong.
Mmmm...Redball man breaks sound barrier while Space Shuttle goes 2 mph on way to museum..... 
I can agree... our National, government sponsored Space Program is solid. I will also suggest we be very glad, as we watch, during our lifetime no less, the promulgation of the private sector space race!
RedBull has a better space program than lots of countries. They have done this with private capital too. Let's see NASA do this with voluntarily raised capital. Not gonna happen... EVER..
There are other countries than the US, you know.
I agree. The achievements of the Red Bull Stratos program are amazing, but it's an upgrade to something the US government did in the 60's, not truly breaking new ground. Comparing this achievement to that of the ISS is a joke. 
C Leung
Well, the meme doesn't state which nation. So it's not wrong on most counts.
That awkward moment when you realize that one guy breaking a jump record got more of your attention than dozens of NASA missions in progress or development.
Come now people the only difference between what he did and falling down stairs is cost and distance

We have a very cheap and foolish nation where we will spend more on weapons that the rest of the world combined. NASA takes a whole year to spend what the military spends in 12 hours.  
except not everyone is from the US, note that is doesn't specify the nation. i'm sure there are countries whose space programs are actually worse than red bull's.
That's nice.  I however have zero faith in my country's space program.

SpaceX, Virgin, these are all private companies.  Your point is still moot.

The US government cannot send men to space, and has no plans to send men to space.  Even if I accept the private company nonsense you're spouting, what are the plans?  

Mars mission?.........nope

Asteroid....also no..

Back to the moon, what are you 5?

Your faith is silly and misplaced.  When I see the money I'll believe it.
We still have a national space "program" ? what are our space programs goals? I believe the point behind the photo comment is saying we need a space program that has more funding and solid goals. The fact is our planet is to small for the growing population and the only 2 solutions are, mass genocide (Agenda 21) or colonizing another planet. Our governments priorities are misguided.
I would agree that this spesific post works bad in the US. I mean, who can compete with Lucas Art (That was supposed to be a joke)

I would otherwise agree with Stefan Isendahl. There are other countries out there...most of these are without much of a space program. Norway for one is not known for sending people anywhere except if by rail. And even that has not worked well in Norway on this side of the German occupation. 
People with too much money because they didn't pay taxes.
Look, it is not a space program. But, the US does not have any manned space flight capability anymore either.
Kevin, don' be a hater.He was the first person to break the sound barrier with out artificial help. Can't do that falling down a flight of stairs! 
Dats not true Ireland has the best space programme I hav ever seen
Is there something wrong with 'relying' on Russia? They're human, and space exploration is a human endeavor  Not everything requires an arms race, despite what the United States may think.
Yeah, to think of it, they all looked very... excited at that Mission Control.
Then there was this one time when people without a sense of humor somehow made it into my feed.  
You know, we might be a little closer to that goal if Red Bull or any other big name sponsor wanted to put money towards manned space flight. I wouldn't mind it much if there was an ad for a sports drink on the side of the rocket as long as it boosted the US space program.
+Tyber Oborne How did he get so high in the first place? How was he able to breathe, and not die from lack of pressure? He had artificial help. Of course it was not a simple task as Kevin described it, but nonetheless he could not have done any of it without the help from those who pioneered space exploration, a.k.a. NASA, and Russia 
Floating a capsule to the stratosphere is hardly a space program.
this is so cool but what i want to know is why one did not catch on fire and two how he managed to land on the ground when the earth it 70% water!!! but still amazing...
Unless you can make weapons from it or impress your friends, America does not want to know. Europe (as always) does it for the science.
Seems like you got offended, the question is why ... Who doesn't know the US didn't have the best Space program? I think that might be you, dumbass.
Might I suggest that people go and explore Nasa's website. You can spend hours and hours there exploring what Nasa is doing, what Nasa does and what they will be doing in the Future. They ended the Space Shuttle program to now concentrate on the future replacement craft that will not only move us back to the moon but Mars and beyond not to mention the Exploration of even more of our Solar System but our Galaxy and out into Deep Space. Nasa is alive and well, and will be for Generations to come.
jonah b
What struck me was how amateur mission control seemed compared to the smooth professionalism of NASA/JPL/
um.... +Philip Plait the problem is that the meme could be any nation. This is probably true for every nation other than the US, China, Russia, and maybe Israel or something.
the nation in question is austria... that's where felix is from.
lol, i don't get mad of this picture, in fact that's true for Mexico!!! :(
It does have a better space program than my nation
This deosnt reffer to the u.s. Jeez it could be other countries.
It's official Red Bull does give you wings.

"Good on ya Red Bull"
Our nations space program is currently investigating Mars so......
I am happy that private citizens, companies etc are getting in on exploration.  Science is not just the governments responsibility, it's EVERYONES.
I agree Philip, freedom of space flight by the individual is a beautiful thing, we've waited a long time for this and now it's finally here.
Check your spelling before posting next time.
That won't apply obviously to the US or to Russia... I live in Mexico, and the picture is more than right :)
Why do most Americans think America is the only 'Nation' in this world?
+Tom Andrewartha While I am informed well enough to know competition creates progress, collaboration should not be discouraged or labelled as a negative process. There are a lot of negative connotations associated with countries collaborating for gains, which I don't think should be any concern at all when the goals are globally beneficial.
Well give the red bull the half off the money nasa spend am sure they will reach mars before nasa
Didn't NASA just land a freaking car on Mars? 
Besides the U.S. and a few other nations, this particular energy drink happens to have a better space program than most countries...

#justsayin #redbull
Welfare programs like corporate  bailouts, yes I agree.
I find it funny, because a few weeks back NASA landed on mars...
Who said this picture was aimed at the US? Red Bull has a better space program that the far majority of nations on the planet.
Who said the nation was the US? Lots of countries have no space programs. Felix Baumgartner is not American. Austria does not have a space program. Americans can be so ethnocentric. Hello? There is a world out there.
That picture irritates me on so many levels.  This along with knee-jerk commentary about the jump being, and I am paraphrasing here, "the greatest thing ever, OMG-Ponies-BBQ!!!".

COMMON people.  How quickly we forget that +NASA delivered an autonomous rover to our sister planet, dropped it from orbit, decelerated it using parachutes and thrusters only to gently place it on the surface using tethers.  While Felix, albeit ballsy as heck, jumped out of a high tech balloon in a suite borrowed from +NASA and the modified for the intended purpose.

You can have your meme when Red Bull, Pepsi, Coke or Monster get a probe to go past the heliopause, get an orbiter to another planet or better yet, get a guy to parachute onto the surface of Venus.  Until then STFU & GBTW! 

/ Soapbox 
i agree. NASA is definitely a better space program.
fyi USA isn't the only country in the world... 
what makes you think that picture is a dig at USA? as oppose to say...  Iran or N.Korea. 
QUITE a few countries in the world are in the position that an energy drink does have a better space program ... 
How much skill does it really take to drop like a rock. Hey now if he built the platform that took him up there with his hands and actually did more than a crash dummy, then color me impressed.
How can you assume that it came from the US? Like you are the only creative people in the world. 

Readers can apply it to their own country as they choose and pass it on or not. I think the Americans getting riled up are being very thin skinned. It was meant as a joke and is being taken seriously.
NASA is only struggling (if they are) because instead of focusing on the innovations of everyone and exploring, they've been told to focus on the contributions of Muslims to science and technology. Maybe if we just try to get stuff done instead of tearing some people down so other people feel better about themselves, we'd be doing better. I'm sure it would also help if we stopped spending money on social engineering things and spend it on protecting ourselves & our allies, and advancing technology, no matter who creates it.
it says "your nation" not " the US". Y U NO READ?
"We can't put humans in space at this exact moment"

which, to me, says the US Space program is in rather sad shape. What they've done with robots is cool and all, but it doesn't impress me nearly as much as putting actual men and women into space. Even if a skydive isn't a space program, I find it a hell of a lot more interesting.
Wont be long before red bull has a vending machine up there ♡♡♡♡ red bull gives you wiings but nasa does not
"We can't put humans in space" Lmao we put humans in space decades ago 
What is sad is the suit was made for a safety recovery suit by NASA but was never approved to be tested. So in reality Redbull has ways around the safety laws and regulations. This kind of thinking will take us back to a time that we could do things dangerous and push the limit.
Americans?  Ethnocentric?  Surely you must mean Native Americans, because I'm pretty sure none of the rest of Americans are actually from America.  And America includes two continents (at least :-)  So you must mean United States-ers... or something... I'm pretty sure Guatemalans don't feel that way.  But I could be wrong ... it's happened once or twice before.
lmfao, is funny cuz it true!!
I am loving the pictures that Red Bull are sending back from Mars and their chemical analyses of the rocks there. I also think their RedBubble space telescope is the nuts - fantastic images from deep space.
Nalla J
I guess this pertains to Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, etc...
This has nothing to do with SPACE. It's still in our atmosphere. This is a very ill-guided meme. It's not even a space "program" but merely a project. And to do what? Fall with style?
And there's always someone who complains about a JOKE (picture).
US is not the only country in the world. Many countries don't have space programs so this could be true to most of the countries 
Hey Philip, I have to disagree with you on this one. The current space program might as well be dead. There were major cuts in the first year of Obama's presidency to NASA. Also have you checked the national debt lately? It's somewhere in the neighborhood of 16 trillion dollars. I don't think going into space is going to be in the near future anytime soon. I believe it will be up to private companies to send someone to the moon again. Don't speculate what will or won't happen in your post. State facts.
It's true! Red Bull does have a better space program than the U.S.
Since our space shuttle fleet is decommissioned, we have to rely on the Russian Space Program, to hitch a ride in the Soviet Soyuz space capsule. Even China is developing a better space program, while our NASA is experiencing major cutbacks. For now, NASA's greatest current program is New Horizons. Which is going to Pluto and beyond. But NASA has currently no manned space program of it's own, using it's own assets..
WHere does it say it means the US?  Red bull has a better space program than most countries in the world, because Red Bull has one.
uh oh.. someone is turning G+ into Facebook.
Lol, yes it does. Can the USA put a man in space? No. Can Red Bull? Yes. The end.
Black hole research lead to technology used in cell phones. I didn't mean NASA invented them.
Red Bull will put its name on EVERYTHING. It is advertising. Don't take it so literally people. When did AMERICA lose its sense of humor??
Cheers to the creator of this meme. I think we are all in agreement Red Bull doesn't REALLY have a space program; Curiosity and SpaceX are exciting, no question. Hidden behind this brilliant marketing campaign, Red Bull and Felix have managed to remind us of the spirit of adventure that makes humans so unique and fantastic!
He wasn't exactly in deep space.
This is a repeated thing also, someone already done it ages ago.
I'm confident that not everyone lives in the states.
Agreed. Glad someone posted a comment on the stupidity of that! 
Take it easy sparky. It is a joke....
Making progress with a blank check and progress in the private sector are two different accomplishments. Also +Polly OTiger , this was done a long time ago but the record was broken with the recent jump in which he also broke the sound barrier without a propelled vehicle.  
Couldn't agree more.  The US space program has evolved to the next level, perhaps out of necessity and perhaps out of some clever thinking on the part of your current government.  Either way it is a positive and important step forward.  Sadly there are a lot of people without all the facts or even basic information on many subjects who will just go with the attention getting headlines. 
+Philip Plait  With the trashing the obama administration has done to NASA I have to say the right now Red Bull is better. This is higher than NASA can go now. It makes me very angry that this has happened but it is true.
You idiot, how did you know the author was from the US? what if he was Mexican for example? That would be absolutely true.
Putting a guy in a weather balloon does not constitute a space program. 

Get that weather balloon to mars, and I'll reconsider my statement.
+Michael Meisman he didn't go into low earth orbit, which is about 60 miles! he was at 23 miles above terra firma. 
I dunno.  It is pretty cool that they made a space suit that could withstand being dropped from that high and break the sound barrier with only a few million dollars.  Red bull spent 10 million, and got over 100 million back in exposure for this jump.  NASA receives over 16 billion, or 1,600x the cost of this jump, a year and gets nothing back.  I would say that Red Bull has a better program.
Obama administration got nothing to do with it. Its the dudes who was before him.
Its like... "O'h sugar, crisis is coming, we are f_cked!!!" - "No... Let the black guy run it for now. We'll blame him after."

How do you think he supposed to keep up with everything if people has no jobs? Of course the budget would be cut down. But NO!!!!!!! We need to blame someone.
For all the critics +NASA is hiring. Apply on Let's see if you even qualify for an automated interview.
They have been doing space programs for years and finally someone called them on there BS. Stop bringing back rocks and theories. We can go to las vegas for that! Bring us some remains, or something that makes the world care about space!! Pretty stars...
24 miles up ain't space. The very fact that the jump platform was suspended from a balloon says as much.
This was a stunt not a program if you dont know the difference,learn something before you all type rubbish
The pic I'm looking at says "your nation". I don't think this applies to MY nation, but I'm sure it does for lots of others :) Let's see an energy drink send updates from Mars then we'll talk :)
I am sure this was intended as a "JOKE". I maybe wrong though.
You're being paranoid. The pic doesn't say a better programme than the US. There are many nations that don't have a space programme at all. They're the target of this meme. 
Nowhere in the caption does it state the US.  There are other countries out there.  I'm pretty sure that it was a slight jab at some nations that may drink energy drinks, yet not have a space program.
People are impressed by stunts more than the work of thousands of scientists & engineers who create real space technology. Sad.
Ken D..
when i read it i thought it absolutely applied to my nation and also laughed.
Still better space program than MOST countries!
i could tell you that this really hurt some feelings down in bolivia but i dont think they dont give a sh t. 
Well said +James Smith, maybe not a better program than USA, but definitely better than most nations.
Not a space program, dude is not in space. If he was, and he fell, he's toasty by the time he hits ground.
+Jerry Moore It's true that the space suit they made was pretty well done, but honestly it was modeled after designs that were already in use by NASA and using science and math pioneered by existing space programs around the world. I would call it more a case of a well done application of existing knowledge than a creation of a new space suit.
I interpreted it as "Austria's space program", since Red Bull is Austrian, as is Felix Baumgartner.
I'd admit it made me smile. is a glorified weather balloon. Seriously, if anyone confused that for space exploration we are doomed.
It's not space exploration, but it was a test for new suits and technology.
Yes, a test for new technology of advertising Red Bull to you.
This is just publicity for the energy drink....
The picture doesn't say anything about the USA. This picture could have been made in any English speaking country without a space program. 
I hope all the idiots know this was also multiple group of tests for NASA. Just like the original freefall that suit they used was a test to what you see astronauts wear now. Same with this suit and the capsule he was in. Only difference is that it was sponsored by a corporation just like many other sports. NASA is still king and so is the other associations of the world.
Seriously? So the only space program the post might be talking about is the U.S. program?
I'm Australian, so this image actually works for me.
That isn't what it says.  (Hint:  Red Bull is available world-wide)
First let let me set the record straight: Red Bull does NOT have a space program. It has a marketing program. It sponsored the event so it could sell more of its chemical soup to the world. There is no science in that. I'm glad you found it entertaining and for the non-US part of the audience, I'm sorry you don't understand our views just as we don't always understand yours. I, for one, thought the jump was spectacular, courageous, and even exciting. The one thing I'd like to know is, however, who took the picture? And how?
Doomed we are then. It is not about the big ballon, it is about man exploring his own limits. Not machine limits, his own bodily limits. Bailout at the limits of stratosphere had never been done before (except maybe previous record in the 60´s) With this knowledge, future blast offs into space can incorporate a bailout possibility when things go awry. Mofo from beverage company showed us how.
 personally its hitting at the inefficiencies that exist in the current system, yes we fly great technology in space but at what cost and what return? if you cannot apply it to the public interests and engage the public (see: MSL, Shuttle flyby's) then how else can you connect with the people that are paying for the programs?
This picture surfaced on reddit, like most memes on the Internet, and most reddit users are European... Thus.. The caption.. 
You sir, are a moron for believing this could only possibly from the USA. You are aware that we have computers & "teh interwebz" around the world, right?
Where there is no political will... there is no money.
Enough with this felix shit, it's been all over reddit.
Agree with you Phillip, is a very stupid and mediocre comparison, The Space Station for example is in orbit at 240 KM above the Earth and Jump of Felix was INSIDE OUR ATMOSPHERE at 39 KM
Wait till you see the Red Bull Space Shuttle!
for most of the worlds nations this is true
but redbull will never sponsor a radio telescope unless smartdrinks come back
It's only funny because there was a shade of truth.  Trying to say that a over-caffeinated, over-priced, over-caloried "drink" has an awesome space program is ridiculous when you see the tens of thousands of people that work on the actual space program.  But it resonates with people that feel there isn't a good replacement for the Shuttle, that we haven't landed anyone on the moon for over 40 years, and that political ambitions have overshadowed human achievement.  It's good that this irks people, maybe we'll put pressure on politicians to move space back to the forefront of their otherwise corporate-driven agendas.
The U.S. did this in the 60's bull is catching up 52 yrs later with better equipment..52 years!!!!
Our space program can do BETTER.  We need more MEN in space.  Robots may be interesting but without humans there is no real point to it.
It's just a joke. Don't take it so seriously. Learn to have some lols. :)
So when will NASA send another human into space?  2030, maybe.
My favorite meme so far is the 1 with the caption "I must go my planet need me" 
My first thought was there is a pimp attached to that parachute
This was just a publicity stunt really there wasn't all that much learned from this jump. The USAF were doing jumps from 20 miles on 1960, yea over 50 years ago our gov't already did this so I definitely agree with the OP sentiment. Go watch video of the 1960 jump from 20 miles you will be more impressed by it than the Red Bull stunt. The guy from 1960 had a balloon, a platform, his suit, chute, and not much else.
His name is Joe Kittinger watch it on YouTube.
i think people say that because it didnt blow up/fail, idk, i still think NASA has a better space program, i mean, look at what the hubble did for us, found us PH1!
Call me when an energy drink can land a rover on Mars, a lander on Titan, and send a probe to the edge of the solar system.
LOL, but amazing how America is using tons of money not to solve economic problems, but simply to waste a billion dollars for a man to dive from space onto the Earth.
Someone cannot take a joke :O
I don't see any energy drinks on mars!
Mindless statement about a questionable achievement. Well done Baumgartner for daring this stunt, but I seriously hope that more that sensationalism comes from it. I wish Redbull would focus on issues concerning the environment and or solving the medical disasters the consumption of fizzy pops & alcohol causes. What is the point in travelling into space and destroying more of our precious atmosphere whilst you're at it. Try to develop a clean flying machine to replace kerosine based air travel. Sorry but I have more respect for people and companies that focus on solving real world, real time problems. Oh and whilst I rant, well done Redbull for recovering your equipment unlike the space programmes which have created a junkyard and are now worried about satellites colliding with debris! Again, respect to Baumgartner for the courage, but that is it. Everybody else involved sorry, but I wish your brilliant mind would have been dedicated to solving something more pressing. Thank you and may we be granted the insight that earth is beautiful and we should try and save our planet rather than striving to leave the mess for new pastures...
I find it strange that comments made about an Austrian company, sponsoring an Austrian athlete, lead you to blog about NASA, not one in the picture is the USA mentioned. No one doubts NASA, but the USA is one country, the rest of us have so much less when it comes to space programs.
Who said it was about the US space program... There are other countries in the world!
well it might be a energy drink for those who have yet to exist on other  planet so that they may come and invade earth only to get RED BULL.
"My goal is to see nothing less than the permanent colonization of space by human beings, and I strongly suspect we are not that far from achieving it." haha. Yeah get some of these humans off our planet!!
just like any other expensive test,I hope that it is & showes what we are looking for. the = of the ?
Great there is a fruit named company, a website full of false info(wiki.) and now there's is a red bull space program. why not?
Wow lots of people taking a Internet meme way to seriously including a normally great science writer. But funny has to be true on some level and this is so in that Red Bull did a better job inspiring people than NASA has done in years. 
Stratosphere is only the second layer of the atmosphere, located between the troposphere below and the mesosphere above. Then, in order with that, this Red bull's jump can't be considered like a spacial travel or anything else according with the space ! Because space starts where atmosphere ends !
The thing is, Felix Baumgartner isn't an American. So in reality, the statement reflects truth.
i.e. Afghanistan. Afghanistan has a worse space program than Red Bull Stratos.
This planet has a lot of countries and for the most of us is "true story".
thats jank, red bull has wings so you can fly and it has a better space program
That awkward moment when the elevator door opens...

LOL Psy.
The caption is in English. So, that means it is likely referring to the UK, US, CA, AU, NZ, ZA, IN, IE, NG, or another country where English is the normal language of public communication. I'm pretty sure if someone from AT had posted this, and wanted people to assume it was Austrian, it would have been in German. Add to that the controversy over the cancellation of the Ares launch system in the US, and the balance of evidence is in favor of +Philip Plait's interpretation. 
Such crap.  If you really believe this, then you are very ignorant to what a space program is and what this Red Bull balloon can really do. 
This crap is made for and by stupid teenagers...I'd like to see RedBull land a car on Mars... Do that then speak... otherwise STFU.
The U.S.'s space program is definitely not as good as an energy drink's..
One more point - Red Bull did not put anything into low Earth orbit. Altitude has little to do with orbit - you can send a ballistic rocket up a lot higher than LEO and still have it fall back to Earth because it never achieved orbital velocity. And 39 miles is a lot lower than LEO is.

Rockwell and Morton Thiokol built the shuttle; now SpaceX, ULA, BlueOrigin and a host of other companies will be designing and building multiple launch platforms. This kind of diversity and competition may be a good thing. 
That's not the point. Sky diving isn't a space program, it's just skydiving. Still, the meme is funny enough as far as memes go.
Whatever. It's funny. Stop being a tool. 
Well, when I saw this image yesterday, I knew it's not true. (when comparing it to NASA's space program, etc)

But when I compare it to my country's space program, this image is like, so true, lol. I live in Indonesia by the way.
+Capricia Pallasso putting people on mars is certainly feasible. Colonizing Mars is feasible. There lacks the popular will to do it, but that negate the technical, monetary, and functional feasibility of it.
It beats about 95% of the countries in the world space program. It doesn't say whose program it is. 
A nation should not have a space program. Think about that one for a little while. ;)
+Mark Evans I disagree, as I don't know of any kid suddenly inspired to do anything scientific as a result of the jump. Normandy adults motivated to switch careers to the space industry, nor people,suddenly willing to fund a real Space Program.

Coolness is simply cool. It isn't an inspiration until it results in a net change in actions.
And for others, Curiosity is cool (as it was ten years ago), but it doesn't inspire people to want to explore space or make settlements elsewhere. It can't, because it isn't exploration it is just data gathering.

IMO, If you really want to inspire people to go to space, you need to do something like send a greenhouse to Mars and let people see it growing food. In a dome. Giant domes on Mars with plants, animals, and people has been inspiring for generations. Then let people live there. 
I belive the guy who made this was a brit. There us a world outside of the USA
Let me know when you can drop a rover from a floating crane from currently 190 million miles away. 
"Better" is a subjective term. I personally believe that NASA is a bloated, ineffective organization that needs to stop stealing money to do stuff that most of us don't want.
As people here say, it could refer to many space programs. And "space" means Outer Space, which is 62 miles above sea level. However, it still seems a salient dig at the U.S. Neil deGrasse Tyson said something similar to the below on his podcast:

"Back in the 60's there were two spacefaring nations, okay? Today, there are two spacefaring nations and they don't include America.

How do you like that?

China and Russia are the only countries around that are sending humans into space."
Who said this was about the US? Not sure if you are aware but there are a few other countries on this planet and mine for example spends practically nothing on getting to space.
he is not in space he is in the upper stratosphere
This was impressive though. Not NASA impressive however.
I am from Uruguay and, believe me, Red Bull has a better space program than my nation. In fact, the world is bigger than the US.
The red bull jump was absolutely awesome , but does not hold a candle to NASA 
Can red bull put a rover the size of a mini cooper that has a laser that can zap rocks on mars, I dont think so.
I dont think that it actually reffers to US.... US is not he only nation in the whole world dude!
But redbull IS better in space program than MY country
so he's cheating cause Redbull Gives you WINGS!!!!!!
Read the text on the meme. It says "than your nation", it doesn't say "than the U.S.".
FWIW, like +Sandy Bridge, I didn't take from this meme the same interpretation that +Philip Plait appears to have; i.e. he seems sure that this pic is a commentary on the US, but I'm inclined to think it addresses a broader audience.

~shrug~ It doesn't really matter, I suppose, but I was struck by his apparent surety was all. =oP
"That awkward moment when you can't remember if you paid your life insurance premium or not"
Errr... Why do any of you think that this image is about NASA? Wake up and smell the coffee beyond your boarders - it was put up by a Brit. Egocentric, the lot of you. 
That image was posted to awaken ones insight.
this is so cool picture that i would i would put on my photo.
... Did he just butcher the English language? Judging from the sentence, I'm guessing he was being actively tased while posting... o.O
re: +JADE WASHINGTON (5:26 2012-12-14): im only a 8 year old child and do not call me a he or i will call you a you get that sean p.o.maccath-moran?yes or no?

LOL! I really do love the logic of (supposed) children; getting someone's gender wrong is offensive, but calling someone a curse-word is just peachy, eh? =oP

Anywho, here's the deal, kiddo: Online, you interact with adults, and you're expected to keep up and behave like one; the onus is not on everyone else to sink to your level. So, with that in mind, let's try again:

Did he/she/it just butcher the English language? Judging from the sentence, I'm guessing he/she/it was being actively tased while posting... o.O
You guys realize that this meme is a dig on Republican F-tards in congress for the budget cuts, right?
Hi, everyone. Please support our Rural Educational Achievement crowd funding campaign starting soon. Lets sponsor a kid through primary & secondary schooling. Tell your friends to tell their friends.
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