Felix Baumgartner Appears to Break Sound Barrier With Free-Fall Jump

Daring skydiver scores world record

| October 14, 2012
Felix Baumgartner just prior to jump
- Twitter: Red Bull Stratos
Felix Baumgartner just prior to jump
Felix Baumgartner broke the sound barrier by jumping from space at 128,100 feet today, according to preliminary data presented by officials at a RedBull press conference.

"When you are standing there at the top of the world, you become so humble," Baumgartner told reporters. "You don't think about records anymore," adding that he was mostly concerned with staying "alive."

Asked what he said when he was just about to jump—the audio feed was unclear—Baumgartner recalled saying: "I know the whole world is watching now, and I wish they could see what I can see."

Baumgarter's historic leap sent him spinning wildly for the initial few seconds as he penetrated the sound barrier after jumping out of a special pressurized capsule.

Officials said he was descending at speed of 83.9 833.9 mph, or 373 meters per second—which translates to Mach 1.24.

To get the Mach number you take the speed of the object (in this case, Baumgarter) and divide it by the speed of sound.

The Austrian daredevil landed safely back on earth in Roswell, New Mexico, several hours ago. He appears to have survived the jump in good health and was in good spirits at the press conference.

Baumgarter also broke the world record for the highest jump from space, over 23 miles up, at which point he was technically in the stratosphere. He also set records for the longest free-fall (four minutes, 20 seconds) completed without a chute, said officials at the RedBull press conference.

Experts were unsure what kind of impact a jump of this nature will have on the human body, but he seems to have survived the jump in good health.

Baumgartner's highly-anticipated leap had been delayed several times due to weather conditions but he made a successful lift-off from Eastern New Mexico at about 1 p.m. EST today.

Baumgarter has been breaking records since 1999, most recently by flying across the English channel in a suit with a carbon wing attached to it.

He jumped from 18 miles up in an earlier mission.

The former world-record holder for such a leap was U.S. Air Force Col. Joseph Kittinger, who jumped from 102,800 feet in 1960.

National Geographic earlier warned that Baumgartner's blood could boil or the cold (it will be close to 100 degrees below zero), could make his weather balloon explode, among a number of other dangers—no one knows what the sound barrier will do to his body.

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I think you mean 833.9 mph, not 83. I've done 83 on my way to Idaho Falls.

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Posted by shirt145 on 10/14/2012 at 4:04 PM
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