Experienced skydiver and extreme athlete Felix Baumgartner has a passion for expanding boundaries, especially in the air. Today, he is going to attempt the most “impossible” and “unimaginable” thing. Felix is going to jump from a helium-filled balloon at 120,000 feet (36576 meter) above the ground, wearing nothing but a special suit. If he survives, the passionate skydiver dubbed “Fearless Felix” could be the first skydiver to break the speed of sound (343.2 meters per second).
In 1960, a U.S. Air Force captain named Joe jumped from 102,800 feet high and made a world record. But, Felix’s dream is to jump from even higher. And energy drink maker Red Bull has given a chance to fulfill his dream. Felix wants to reach the edge of space and break the speed of sound. He is prepared to fulfill his dream today on October 8, just few hours from now.
Felix will go 120,000 feet (36576 meter) high above the ground through a 55-story high helium-filled balloon (stratospheric balloon). The balloon is going to be launched from New Mexico. Baumgartner will be lifted into the stratosphere around 7 am MDT. Then Felix will jump. After jumping from such high altitude, Felix will be falling toward earth at supersonic speeds before parachuting to the ground. It is being hoped that, he will reach a speed of 690 mph to break the sound barrier. There will be 30 video and still cameras to record the jump, including five attached to Baumgartner’s pressure suit, along with cameras from the capsule, on the ground and on a helicopter.
This mission is named the Red Bull Stratos Mission. Engineers, scientists and daredevils have spent more than 7 years for this mission. Felix has spent 5 years to take preparation for this jump. The interesting thing is, according to Red Bull Stratos team “it’s not to break a record,” rather it is “pushing a limit that holds potential and provide medical and scientific data for future.”
Felix said, “If Red Bull Stratos is successful, we can share data that hasn’t been available ever before. I would be proud to be able to make such a contribution.”
You can watch the live streaming of the free fall below.
If Felix survives, then he will become the world’s first skydiver to break the sound barrier.
[UPDATE 1] The mission had been aborted yesterday due to “strong wind gusts”. The weather isn’t suitable for a launch attempt today either.
[UPDATE 2] Felix Baumgartner has successfully jumped off from 128,000 above the ground on October 24, 2012. Read more.