Felix Baumgartner Jumps From Balloon 24 Miles Above Earth in Hopes of Breaking Sound Barrier
Extreme athlete Felix Baumgartner has landed safely on Earth after a 24-mile-high jump from the stratosphere in what could be the world's first supersonic skydive. Stay tuned for more on his record-breaking jump.
Plus, watch Baumgartner and Joe Kittinger in an interview on America's Newsroom.
ROSWELL, N.M. – Extreme athlete Felix Baumgartner has jumped from a balloon 24 miles (38.6 kilometers) above Earth in a death-defying free fall that could make him the world's first supersonic skydiver.
Baumgartner climbed into the stratosphere in a pressurized capsule carried by a helium balloon Tuesday and then jumped into a near vacuum at about 128,000 feet (39,000 meters), or more than 24 miles (38.6 kilometers), high.
The total jump should take about 10 minutes.
It was unclear if he made any contact with the capsule when he jumped.
Any contact with it could tear the pressurized suit, a rip that could expose him to a lack of oxygen and temperatures as low as minus 70 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 57 degrees Celsius.
It could cause potentially lethal bubbles to form in his bodily fluids.
Baumgartner expects to hit a speed of 690 mph (1,110 kph) before he activates his parachute.
At Baumgartner's insistence, some 30 cameras recorded the event Sunday. While it had been pegged as a live broadcast, it was actually under a 20-second delay.
Shortly after launch, screens at mission control showed the capsule as it rose above 10,000 feet, high above the New Mexico desert as cheers erupted from organizers. Baumgartner also could be seen on video checking instruments inside the capsule.
Baumgartner's team included Joe Kittinger, who first attempted to break the sound barrier from 19.5 miles up in 1960. With Kittinger inside mission control Sunday, the two men could be heard going over technical details as the launch began.
"You are right on the button, keep it right there," Kittinger told Baumgartner.
An hour into the flight, Baumgartner had ascended more than 63,000 feet and had gone through a trial run of the jump sequence that will send him plummeting toward Earth. Ballast was dropped to speed up the ascent.
Kittinger told him, "Everything is in the green. Doing great."
By 11:15 a.m. MDT, he had reached more than 100,000 feet above Earth. Organizers earlier had estimated the jump to occur at roughly 12:30 p.m., though that timing was tentative.