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A staggering new record has been made by Felix Baumgartner

He will be one very happy man. A very relieved man. And a very proud man. And the whole Red Bull Stratos back-up team will be experiencing the same emotions – and rightly so!

Baumgartner stands on the edge of the earth

Felix Baumgartner prepares to break the sound barrier

Jumping from the fringe of space yesterday and putting a lot of faith in modern technology, Baumgartner thrilled the watching world with his hair-raising stunt. In jumping out of a balloon 128,100ft (24 miles; 39km) above New Mexico, the 43-year-old also smashed the record for the highest ever freefall and was the culmination of a 7-year old dream for Baumgartner. He first began to sereiously discuss the idea of a record breaking jump in 2005.

The man who has a tattoo saying “born to fly” certainly did that when he leapt from 24 miles above the Earth and reached a top speed of 833.9 miles per hour. “I always had the desire to be in the air,” Austria’s Kurier newspaper quoted Baumgartner as saying. “I climbed trees, I wanted to see the world from above.” He most certainly did that with this jump!

It took just under 10 minutes for him to descend. Only the last few thousand feet were negotiated by parachute.

His remarkable feat came exactly 65 years to the day after Chuck Yeager became the first man to break the sound barrier in an airplane, and it was one of three world records Baumgartner set with his jump. He also smashed the records for the highest manned balloon flight and the highest skydive.

Red Bull were behind this stunt and there post project comment was: “Austria’s Felix Baumgartner earned his place in the history books on Sunday October 14th after overcoming concerns with the power for his visor heater that impaired his vision and nearly jeopardized the mission. Baumgartner reached an estimated speed of 1,342.8 km/h (MACH 1.24) jumping from the stratosphere, which, when certified, will make him the first man to break the speed of sound in freefall and set several other records while delivering valuable data for future space exploration.”

He almost aborted the jump because of the visor malfunction which caused the visorto fog up as he exhaled. And that wasn’t the only moment of concern. Once launched, Felix was supposed to get himself into a delta position – head down, arms swept back – as soon as possible after leaving his capsule. But as you will see from the video, he was tumbling over and over. However, his vast experience as a skydiver and wingsuit flyer help him to re-orient himself  and get into a stable configuration.

Felix Baumgartner ‘breaks speed of sound’

Once down, he fell to his knees and raised his fists in triumph. Helicopter recovery teams were on hand moments later.

Despite all the modern technology that went into orchestrating this stunt, it must be remembered that Baumgartner was taking a massive risk. At Sunday’s jump altitude, the air pressure is less than 2% of what it is at sea level, and it is impossible to breathe without an oxygen supply. Others who have tried to break the 50-year old record have lost their lives in the process.

Let me tell you – when I was standing there on top of the world, you become so humble. You don’t think about breaking records anymore, you don’t think about gaining scientific data – the only thing that you want is to come back alive,” he said afterwards at a media conference.

And if you follow this link you will be able to see what it looked like from Felix’ own headcam – perhaps a GoPro? that would be cool – the first GoPro into space!

http://uk.eurosport.yahoo.com/blogs/world-of-sport/see-baumgartner-jump-amazing-headcam-footage-124013205.html

Mission successfully accomplished. Congratulations to all, but especially to Felix for having nerves of steel… now they wait for official endorsement from the Federation Aeronautique Internationale (FAI). Their representative was the first to meet Felix at the landing zone and he removed GPS data recorded on to a microcard in the Austrian’s chest pack which will form the basis for the height and speed claims that are made.

“I’m very glad that there are still people with enough spirit of adventure (and madness!) to take this on,” was one comment after the stunt was completed… and I agree. Congratulations to Felix Baumgartner and the Red Bull Stratos team.

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