It happened! The extreme skydiving daredevil made his historic, record-setting jump, after only one false start. The first attempt took place on Tuesday, but unfortunately high wind conditions forced them to cancel the jump. Despite the high altitude and extremely daring nature of the entire enterprise, minor variations in atmospheric and wind conditions had to be taken into account
Luckily, today things went off without a hitch. Launching from their base camp in Roswell New Mexico, Baumgartner ascended via his high-altitude balloon to the upper reaches of Earth’s atmosphere. Then, at an altitude of approx. 38.5 km above sea level, he jumped with the hopes of achieving supersonic free fall.
And that is precisely what he did, and then some. In fact, according to the Red Bull Stratos team, Baumgartner’s achieved a top speed of 1,173 km/hour, or 729 mph. The team’s expectation was that 690 mph would be sufficient to get Baumgartner to Mach 1, considering the extreme elevation. The previous record, one of several he sought to beat was 614 mph, which was set back in 1960 and has stood ever since.
Naturally, there were a few technical glitches along the way. These included some issues with Baumgartner’s visor and the balloon’s power supply. After making the jump, he found himself spinning faster and faster, and almost lost consciousness at one point. This is apparently what prevented him from feeling the sonic boom that he eventually made. All in all, Baumgartner admitted it was a lot harder than he thought it would be. Hmm, jumping out a balloon on the edge of space and free falling towards the planet at speeds so fast you break the sound barrier? What’s hard about that?
Kudos to Baumgartner for the record-setting jump and making history. And be sure to check out the video of his jump, freefall and landing below: