An Austrian adrenaline junkie has skydived from more than 13 miles above New Mexico in preparation for a world record attempt.
Daredevil Felix Baumgartner rode in a capsule pulled up by a helium balloon to 13.6 miles (21.8 km) above the Earth’s surface before balancing on the edge of the pod and launching himself off.
He is aiming to break the current world record of a 19.5-mile (13.3-km) plunge by jumping 23 miles (37 km) this summer.
After the test jump Baumgartner said: “The view is amazing, way better than I thought.”
Believed to be only the third ever person to jump from such a height, and the first in 50 years, he added: “I’m now a member of a pretty small club.”
The 42-year-old known as ‘Fearless Felix’ reached speeds of up to 364.4mph (586.4kph). He was in free fall for 3.43 minutes before releasing his parachute.
The figures were according to official project spokesperson Trish Medalen who confirmed the safe landing of Mr Baumgartner.
If he succeeds in breaking the world record, the jumper will also smash sound barriers as he plummets through the stratosphere at supersonic speeds.
The atmosphere at this height will be virtually non-existent and will prove a strain in pressure and oxygen on Mr Baumgartner’s body.
The record for the highest free fall is held by Joe Kittinger, a retired Air Force officer from Florida. He jumped from 19.5 miles in 1960. Kittinger is now 83 and one of Baumgartner’s chief advisers.
Baumgartner has jumped from some of the highest landmarks and skyscrapers on the planet, including the Christ the Redeemer statue overlooking Rio de Janeiro, the Millau Viaduct in southern France and the 101-story Taipei 101 tower in Taiwan.
“I like to challenge myself,” he told a reporter, “and this is the ultimate skydive. I think there’s nothing bigger than that.”
SOURCE: SkynewsRead More