Jared LeidichRecent Alumni Award

Jared Leidich, a licensed professional engineer, led the design of the life support pack for a state-of-the-art spacesuit that safely carried Google executive Alan Eustace to the stratosphere on three flights. The third flight was the highest altitude a human has ascended to by balloon, the highest and longest freefall of all time and the second time a human has broken the sound barrier outside a capsule.

Currently, Leidich’s team at World View Enterprises designs stratospheric parafoil systems. They are the first team to use inflatable wings in the stratosphere and hold the unofficial records for the highest and fastest parafoils ever flown and the first steerable descent systems usable in the stratosphere.

Leidich engages with CU Engineering as a judge for freshman mechanical engineering projects. He also consults on graduate projects relating to StratEx and the stratosphere. He serves the broader engineering community through committee roles for the International Conference on Environmental Systems and the Astronautics Life Sciences and Systems Technical Committee. Leidich regularly participates in the AIAA Aerodynamic Decelerator Systems conference as well.

In 2016, Leidich published his book, The Wild Black Yonder. He was also involved with the documentary 14 Minutes from Earth, made concurrently with his book. He continues to write as a freelance author and has created articles for Air & Space Magazine and Blue Skies Magazine.