Austrian Daredevil Breaks Sound Barrier In Record Jump
Published 15 October 2012
The world governing body for air sports and aeronautics has confirmed that an Austrian daredevil has broken the sound barrier in making the highest skydive in history. (Click <strong><a href=" http://www.rferl.org/media/video/24739796.html" target="_blank">here</a></strong> for a video of Baumgartner's record leap.) An official of the Federation Aeronautique Internationale said Felix Baumgartner reached a maximum speed of 1,342 kilometers per hour during his jump on October 14 over the U.S. southwestern desert state of New Mexico. That amounts to Mach 1.24 -- faster than the speed of sound. He became the first person to break the speed of sound unaided by a craft. Baumgartner, 43, landed safely after jumping from a balloon 39,000 meters above the Earth. He wore a pressurized suit to protect him. Organizers said his descent lasted more than nine minutes, about half in free-fall before he opened a parachute. Baumgartner said he encountered problems during the jump, including tumbling out of control. He said he thought he might lose consciousness before he finally was able to properly position his body. The stunt broke the 1960 record held by U.S. Air Force Colonel Joseph W. Kittinger, who was on Baumgartner's team in mission control. Click <strong><a href="http://www.rferl.org/content/joseph-kittinger-record-parachute-jump-freefall/1109605.html" target="_blank">here</a></strong> for a 2008 interview with Kittinger, who still holds the record for longest free-fall, at 4 minutes 36 seconds. Baumgartner's free-fall lasted 4 minutes 20 seconds.
Daredevil Felix Baumgartner steps into the capsule before launch from the desert surrounding Roswell, New Mexico, on October 14.
The balloon and capsule carrying Baumgartner on his record-setting journey are launched from Roswell with the help of a crane.
Baumgartner is seen inside the capsule on a screen at mission control during the final moments of the ascent.
Baumgartner is shown standing on the lip of the capsule just moments before his jump.
He jumps from 39,000 meters.
Crew members at mission control watch at the moment that Baumgartner steps off the capsule.
Baumgartner exceeded the speed of sound as he plummeted toward the Earth.
Baumgartner glides toward the New Mexican desert.
Baumgartner landed more than 60 kilometers from where he took off.
Life support engineer Mike Todd (left) greets Baumgartner after he landed safely.
Baumgartner's jump broke the previous record held by U.S. Colonel Joseph Kittinger.
Kittinger jumped from a height of more than 31,000 meters in 1960.