Record Free Fall Breaks Sound Barrier
A feed of the 4-minute, 20-second fall was broadcast live. Baumgartner reached speeds of more than 833 miles an hour.
The 43-year-old jumped out of a balloon over New Mexico.
Despite the spectical of the jump, Baumgartner insisted the stunt had scientific value. From BBC:
Although the jump had the appearance of another Baumgartner stunt, his team stressed its high scientific relevance.
The researchers on the Red Bull Stratos project say it has already provided invaluable data for the development of high-performance, high-altitude parachute systems, and that the lessons learned will inform the development of new ideas for emergency evacuation from vehicles, such as spacecraft, passing through the stratosphere.
Baumgartner has made a career out of risking his life. From CNN:
Dubbed "Fearless Felix," the helicopter pilot and former soldier had parachuted from such landmarks as the Petronas Towers in Malaysia and the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro. And he'd been preparing for his latest feat for five years -- physically, mentally and logistically.
By most accounts, all the hard work paid off. According to preliminary findings cited by Brian Utley, an official observer monitoring the mission, the 43-year-old Baumgartner flew higher than anyone ever in a helium balloon and broke the record for the highest jump.
The previous free fall record was set in 1960 by US Air Force Col Joe Kittinger who served as radio liaison for Sunday's stunt.
Red Bull sponsored the jump.
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