“You know, the world needs a hero… and today it got one.”
– Jonathan Clark, M.D., Red Bull Stratos Medical Director
Earlier today… this:
After years of preparation, two “practice” jumps and one aborted launch attempt due to uncooperative weather, extreme BASE jumper Felix Baumgartner successfully ascended to over 128,000 feet in a pressurized capsule and jumped, freefalling for 4 minutes and 20 seconds before opening his chute at 6,000 feet.
If like millions of people around the world you were watching the event live, you too can attest to the fact that it was, in a word, incredible.
During the Red Bull-sponsored mission, the Austrian athlete broke records for highest manned balloon ascent, fastest freefall and highest freefall. (The record for longest freefall remains with Baumgartner’s mentor and Stratos team member Joe Kittinger.)
During his fall Felix reached a maximum of speed of 1,342.8 km/h (833mph)… that’s Mach 1.24. This all occurred on the date exactly 65 years after Chuck Yeager first broke the sound barrier flying in an experimental rocket-powered airplane.
“Sometimes you have to go up really high to understand how small you are.”
– Felix Baumgartner
Video via Red Bull. Images from live feed from Discovery News.
*Ok, the actual border of “space” is much higher than the altitude Felix’s capsule attained, the lowest point being the Kármán line, recognized by aeronautic agencies at 100 km (62 miles) up. Still, Felix was above 99% of Earth’s atmosphere, where air pressure is virtually nonexistent and the sky above is black. I don’t know about you, but that’s good enough for me! Congratulations Felix!