Felix Baumgartner successfully completes record-breaking jump from edge of space
Austrian skydiver Felix Baumgartner completed a potentially record-breaking 24 mile skydive on Sunday 14th October.
The 43-year-old undertook the jump, known as the Stratos Mission to the Edge of Space, in Roswell, New Mexico.
The jump, which took five years of planning, is yet to be confirmed as official by the Federation Aeronautique Internationale (FAI). However, if the new marks set by Baumgartner are approved, he shall have broken world records that have stood for 50 years and become the first human to break the sound barrier without the protection of a vehicle.
Ideal conditions were essential for the crew to launch the 1,682kg balloon Baumgartner jumped from because of the delicate eight-hour process of laying the balloon out and pumping it with the helium to raise it into the stratosphere.
The 55 storey-high balloon is the largest balloon ever launched with humans aboard. At jump altitude the balloon’s height reached 102 metres with a diameter of 129 metres.
The balloon is an identical copy of one destroyed on an aborted launch attempt for the same record by Baumgartner on 9th October. Despite technical glitches and safety fears, Baumgartner completed the dangerous jump the second time by drawing on his skydiving experience to help him navigate falling at a top speed of 706mph for a period of 10 minutes.
Performed in alliance with Red Bull, it is hoped scientific findings from the jump will help the future engineering of emergency evacuation equipment for spacecrafts that pass through the stratosphere.