In Which Felix Baumgartner Jumps from Space
For those who (like me) didn’t realize that yesterday was Felix Baumgartner’s record-breaking free-fall jump from space, the Austrian skydiver has had this jump in the works for 7 years. He jumped from 25 miles above the Earth’s surface, the first human to break the sound barrier in a free fall. He also broke numerous records, including highest freefall and highest manned balloon flight. These records are pending confirmation right now, according to the Red Bull Stratos Mission website.
It was incredible to watch his journey from space down to the Earth’s surface. He was able to see the curve of the Earth as he dropped from the balloon that carried him up into space, going speeds of up to 1,342.8 km/h in his descent. From there, the video feed pulled back to far-away cameras recording his form dropping, and so he seemed as if he were the size of an ant. As he came closer and closer to the ground, it began to seem like any other jump with a parachute, and Baumbartner landed steadily on his feet after his 25-mile drop.
Baumgartner’s freefall lasted a total of 4 minutes and 19 seconds, landing on the ground at 9 minutes and 3 seconds after the release of his parachute. On the Red Bull Stratos page detailing the world record fall, Baumgartner relates, “It was an incredible up and down today, just like it’s been with the whole project [...] I didn’t feel a sonic boom because I was so busy just trying to stabilize myself. We’ll have to wait and see if we really broke the sound barrier. It was really a lot harder than I thought it was going to be.”