Felix Baumgartner is the first skydiver to go faster than the speed of sound, reaching a maximum velocity of 833.9mph (1,342km/h). Risky jump out of a balloon 128,100ft (24 miles; 39km) above New Mexico, the 43-year-old also did the record highest free fall.
The team took a calculated risk to proceed after understanding why the problem existed. Jump at this 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.
Felix Baumgartner’s efforts have finally toppled records that have stood for more than 50 years. Before the highest, farthest, and longest freefall was made by Kittinger, who leapt from a helium envelope in 1960. His altitude was 102,800ft (31km). (His mark for the longest freefall remains intact; he fell for more than four and a half minutes before deploying his chute; Baumgartner was in freefall for four minutes and 19 seconds).
The 43-year-old adventurer – best known for leaping off skyscrapers – first discussed the possibility of beating Kittinger’s records in 2005.
On a parachute The Austrian first began to discuss seriously the idea of a record breaking jump in 2005
Since then, he has had to battle technical and budgetary challenges to make it happen.
What he was proposing was extremely dangerous, even for a man used to those skyscraper stunts.
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 have tried to break the records have lost their lives in the process.
Baumgartner’s team built him a special pressurized capsule to protect him on the way up, and for his descent he wore a next generation, full pressure suit made by the same company that prepares the flight suits of astronauts.
Although the jump had the appearance of another Baumgartner stunt, his team stressed its high scientific relevance.