October 14, 2012
"Sometimes we have to get really high to see how small we are." Felix Baumgartner
Austrian adventurer Felix Baumgartner set the world record for skydiving an estimated 39 kilometres (128,000 ft or 24 miles), reaching an estimated record speed of 1,342 kilometres per hour (834 mph), or Mach 1.24. To reach this speed Felix rocketed head first for more than four minutes before deploying his chute. By so doing, he also set the world record for free fall distance. Felix also set the world record altitude for a manned balloon flight.
Baumgartner, a former Austrian paratrooper with more than 2,500 jumps, had taken off early Sunday from Roswell, New Mexico in a capsule carried by a 55-story ultra-thin helium balloon. Imagine standing alone at the edge of space, poised in the open doorway of a capsule suspended above Earth wondering if you would make it back alive? "When I was standing there on top of the world, you become so humble, you do not think about breaking records anymore, you do not think about gaining scientific data," Baumgartner said after the jump. "The only thing you want is to come back alive." About half of Baumgartner's nine-minute descent was a free fall of 119,846 feet. He had a soft landing though in the New Mexico desert.
This accomplishment carried numerous challenges, including any contact with the capsule on his exit could have torn his suit, a rip that could expose him to a lack of oxygen and temperatures as low as minus-70 degrees.
About 90 seconds into the free fall descent, Felix started tumbling almost out of contro into a flat spin. An uncontrolled spin at that speed could have proved fatal as it would have certainly caused a loss of consciousness or worse. However, he was able to gain control. But Baumgartner said he felt no danger. "I never felt like I was going to die, but I did think that if I don't get myself out of this (spin) I won't break the speed of sound," he said. "That would have been a big disappointment because I just don't have any energy left to do this again."
Baumgartner's accomplishment came on the 65th anniversary of the day that U.S. test pilot Chuck Jeager broke the sound barrier in an aircraft. Baumgartner's team included Joe Kittinger, who first tried to break the sound barrier from 19.5 miles up in 1960, reaching speeds of 614 mph.
"On a mission like this, you need to be mentally fit and have total control over what you do, and I'm preparing very thoroughly", said Felix as he was training for his skyjump.
Millions of people around the world where brought together watching this incredible feat of adventure and nerves online live!
Hey Felix . . . . thanks for the inspiration! Your efforts will increase man's knowledge of space exploration.
Born in Salzburg, Austria in 1969, Felix began skydiving at the age of 16 and polished his skills as part of the Austrian military's demonstration and competition team. In 1988, he began performing skydiving exhibitions for Red Bull. The company's out-of-the-box thinking and Felix's adventurous spirit clicked. See Felix Baumgartner's Website and for spacejump details from Felix's sponsor See Red Bull Stratos.<-- back to top
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