More than 24 miles in space, Felix Baumgartner goes through the check list with Red Bull Stratos Mission Control in Roswell, New Mexico.
All checked off, released from the oxygen in his capsule, Baumgartner steps onto the platform and just ... jumps. From the edge of space, he begins his freefall. Some tense moments for those watching live, as he spins seemingly out of control but then he gets control of the fall and begins shooting like a bullet through space; reaching speeds of more than 700 miles per hour.
Felix Baumgartner has trained for this, as the Red Bull Stratos Mission website says, "he was born to fly." During his first test jump with a high altitude balloon and pressurized capsule on March 15 from 71,581 feet over Roswell, NM he recorded a speed of 364.4 miles per hour. On July 25th, while testing recovery equipment and training for today, he jumped from 18 miles above the earth and completed a free fall at an official speed 536 miles per hour.
He holds the rights for several of "the highest" records:
- 2007 - Base jump from world's tallest building (Taipei 101 Tower) at 1,669 feet.
- 2004 - BASE jump into Marmet Cave in Velebit National Parc, Croatia - 623 feet deep
- 2004 - World record BASE jump from the highest bridge in the world in Millau Bridge, France (1,125 feet)
As part of their statement concerning this mission, Red Bull Stratos Mission states that "[Baumgartner's] attempt to dare atmospheric limits holds the potential to provide valuable medical and scientific research data for future pioneers."
Freefall continued until the 4:19 mark; the parachute was deployed and Baumgartner was guided to landing by mission control just east of Roswell. As he took what looked like a casual 3-4 steps upon landing, he raised his fists in victory. The helicopter and chase crews landed right behind him.
Though there is still data coming in at the time of this post, Felix Baumgartner now holds the record for the highest and fastest freefall and the highest manned balloon flight. The team is still working to determine if he broke mach speed. Unofficially, Baumgartner jumped from 128,097ft (24.2 miles). His freefall was four minutes and 19 seconds, reaching a speed of 706 mph. These figures will probably change slightly once the data from his suit has been properly gathered; the records must be confirmed by Federation Aeronautique Internationale (FAI). UPDATED: Baumgartner broke the sound barrier with a speed of Mach 1.24.