Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 28 December 2014

Video: Skydiver Felix Baumgartner makes record 24 mile leap from edge of space

FILE - In this Thursday, March 15, 2012 photo provided by Red Bull Stratos, Felix Baumgartner prepares to jump during the first manned test flight for Red Bull Stratos over Roswell, N.M. On Monday, Oct. 8, 2012 over New Mexico, Baumgartner will attempt to jump higher and faster in a free fall than anyone ever before and become the first skydiver to break the sound barrier. (AP Photo/Red Bull Stratos, Jay Nemeth)
In this photo provided by Red Bull, pilot Felix Baumgartner of Austria is seen in a screen at mission control center in the capsule during the final manned flight for Red Bull Stratos in Roswell, N.M. on Sunday, Oct. 14, 2012. Baumgartner plans to jump from an altitude of 120,000 feet, an altitude chosen to enable him to achieve Mach 1 in free fall, which would deliver scientific data to the aerospace community about human survival from high altitudes.(AP Photo/Red Bull, Stefan Aufschnaiter)
In this photo provided by Red Bull Stratos, pilot Felix Baumgartner of Austria steps into his capsule before his mission was aborted due to high winds during the final manned flight of Red Bull Stratos in Roswell, N.M., Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2012. (AP Photo/Red Bull Stratos, Balazs Gardi)
This image provided by Red Bull Stratos shows pilot Felix Baumgartner of Austria sitting in his capsule in preparation for the final manned flight of Red Bull Stratos in Roswell, N.M., Tuesday Oct. 9, 2012. Extreme athlete and skydiver Baumgartner canceled his planned death-defying 23-mile free fall on Tuesday because of high winds, the second time this week he was forced to postpone his quest to be the first supersonic skydiver. (AP Photo/Red Bull Stratos)
In this Nov. 8, 2011, photo provided by Red Bull Stratos, retired U.S Air Force Col. Joe Kittinger, left, and pilot Felix Baumgartner of Austria greet each other during the Brooks chamber test for Red Bull Stratos, a mission to the edge of space to break the speed of sound in freefall, in San Antonio. On Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2012, if winds allow, in the desert surrounding Roswell, N.M., pilot Felix Baumgartner will attempt to break Kittinger's world record for the highest and fastest free fall. (AP Photo/Red Bull Stratos, Christian Pondella)
FILE - In this Aug. 16, 1960, file photo provided by the U.S. Air Force, Col. Joe Kittinger steps off a balloon-supported gondola at an altitude of 102,800 feet. In freefall for 4.5 minutes at speeds up to 614 mph and temperatures as low as -94 degrees Fahrenheit, he opened his parachute at 18,000 feet. On Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2012, if winds allow, in the desert surrounding Roswell, N.M., pilot Felix Baumgartner will attempt to break Kittinger's world record for the highest and fastest free fall. (AP Photo/U.S. Air Force, File)
FILE - In this Nov. 16, 1959, file photo, provided by the U.S. Air Force, Capt. Joseph Kittinger Jr., aerospace laboratory test director, sits in the open balloon gondola after his first parachute test jump for Project Excelsior at Holloman Air Force Base in Alamogordo, N.M. The gondola carried him at an altitude of 76,400 feet for his record free fall jump of more than 12 miles. At left is David Willard, who designed and developed special equipment for the gondola. On Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2012, if winds allow, in the desert surrounding Roswell, N.M., pilot Felix Baumgartner will attempt to break Kittinger's world record for the highest and fastest free fall. (AP Photo/U.S. Air Force, File)
ROSWELL, NM - OCTOBER 14: (NO SALES/NO ARCHIVE) Pilot Felix Baumgartner of Austria and Technical Project Director Art Thompson (R) of the Unites States celebrate after successfully completing the final manned flight for Red Bull Stratos on October 14, 2012 in Roswell, New Mexico. Austrian Felix Baumgartner broke the world record for the highest free fall in history after making a 23-mile ascent in capsule attached to a massive balloon. (Photo by Joerg Mitter/Red Bull Stratos via Getty Images)
ROSWELL, NM - OCTOBER 9: In this handout from Red Bull Stratos, Pilot Felix Baumgartner of Austria steps stps into the capsule before the final manned flight for Red Bull Stratos October 9, 2012 in Roswell, New Mexico. on . Baumgartner was to attempt a record setting skydive from 23 miles above the Earth, but the attempt had to be aborted due to gusty winds. (Photo by Red Bull Stratos via Getty Images)
ROSWELL, NM - OCTOBER 9: In this handout from Red Bull Stratos, Pilot Felix Baumgartner of Austria steps out of his trailer before the final manned flight for Red Bull Stratos October 9, 2012 in Roswell, New Mexico. on . Baumgartner was to attempt a record setting skydive from 23 miles above the Earth, but the attempt had to be aborted due to gusty winds. (Photo by Red Bull Stratos via Getty Images)
ROSWELL, NM - OCTOBER 9: In this handout from Red Bull Stratos, Pilot Felix Baumgartner of Austria leaves his capsule after his mission was aborted October 9, 2012 in Roswell, New Mexico. on . Baumgartner was to attempt a record setting skydive from 23 miles above the Earth, but the attempt had to be aborted due to gusty winds. (Photo by Red Bull Stratos via Getty Images)
ROSWELL, NM - OCTOBER 9: In this handout from Red Bull Stratos, Pilot Felix Baumgartner of Austria salutes on his way to the capsule before the final manned flight for Red Bull Stratos October 9, 2012 in Roswell, New Mexico. on . Baumgartner was to attempt a record setting skydive from 23 miles above the Earth, but the attempt had to be aborted due to gusty winds. (Photo by Red Bull Stratos via Getty Images)
ROSWELL, NM - OCTOBER 9: In this handout from Red Bull Stratos, Pilot Felix Baumgartner of Austria sits in his capsule before the final manned flight for Red Bull Stratos October 9, 2012 in Roswell, New Mexico. on . Baumgartner was to attempt a record setting skydive from 23 miles above the Earth, but the attempt had to be aborted due to gusty winds. (Photo by Red Bull Stratos via Getty Images)
ROSWELL, NM - OCTOBER 9: In this handout from Red Bull Stratos, Pilot Felix Baumgartner of Austria reacts after his mission was aborted after his mission was aborted October 9, 2012 in Roswell, New Mexico. on . Baumgartner was to attempt a record setting skydive from 23 miles above the Earth, but the attempt had to be aborted due to gusty winds. (Photo by Red Bull Stratos via Getty Images)
Felix Baumgartner, of Austria, gives a thumbs up to Mission Control staff, family, and friends after successfully jumping from a space capsule lifted by a helium balloon at a height of just over 128,000 feet above the Earth's surface, Sunday, Oct. 14, 2012, in Roswell, N.M. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
Felix Baumgartner, right, of Austria, shares a laugh with Col. Joe Kittinger, USAF retired, after successfully jumping from a space capsule lifted by a helium balloon at a height of just over 128,000 feet above the Earth's surface, beating Kittinger's old record of 102,799 ft., Sunday, Oct. 14, 2012, in Roswell, N.M. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
Felix Baumgartner, middle, of Austria, walks with his girlfriend Nici Oetl, facing at left, after Baumgartner successfully jumped from a space capsule lifted by a helium balloon at a height of just over 128,000 feet above the Earth's surface, Sunday, Oct. 14, 2012, in Roswell, N.M. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
Felix Baumgartner, third from left, of Austria, gets a hug from Mission Control technical project director Art Thompson, as television crews and pool photographers converge on the scene, after Baumgartner successfully jumped from a space capsule lifted by a helium balloon at a height of just over 128,000 feet above the Earth's surface, Sunday, Oct. 14, 2012, in Roswell, N.M.(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
Felix Baumgartner, of Austria, pauses before answering a question during an impromptu interview after successfully jumping from a space capsule lifted by a helium balloon at a height of just over 128,000 feet above the Earth's surface, Sunday, Oct. 14, 2012, in Roswell, N.M.(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
In this photo provided by Red Bull Stratos, pilot Felix Baumgartner of Austria and Technical Project Director Art Thompson, celebrate after successfully completing the final manned flight for Red Bull Stratos in Roswell, N.M., Sunday, October 14, 2012. Baumgartner came down safely in the eastern New Mexico desert minutes about nine minutes after jumping from his capsule 128,097 feet, or roughly 24 miles, above Earth. (AP Photo/Red Bull Stratos, Joerg Mitter)
This photo provided by Red Bull shows the balloon lifts up during the helium balloon carrying Felix Baumgartner, Sunday, Oct. 14, 2012, in Roswell, N.M. Baumgartner plans to jump from an altitude of 120,000 feet, an altitude chosen to enable him to achieve Mach 1 in free fall, which would deliver scientific data to the aerospace community about human survival from high altitudes.(AP Photo/Red Bull Stratos, Predrag Vuckovic, HO) MANDATORY CREDIT
In this photo provided by Red Bull Stratos, Pilot Felix Baumgartner of Austria celebrates after successfully completing the final manned flight for Red Bull Stratos in Roswell, N.M., Sunday, Oct. 14, 2012. Baumgartner came down safely in the eastern New Mexico desert minutes about nine minutes after jumping from his capsule 128,097 feet, or roughly 24 miles, above Earth. (AP Photo/Red Bull Stratos, Balazs Gardi)
In this photo provided by Red Bull, pilot Felix Baumgartner of Austria lands in the desert after his successful jump on Sunday, Oct. 14, 2012 in Roswell, N.M. Baumgartner came down safely in the eastern New Mexico desert minutes about nine minutes after jumping from his capsule 128,097 feet, or roughly 24 miles, above Earth (AP Photo/Red Bull, Predrag Vuckovic)
In this photo provided by Red Bull, pilot Felix Baumgartner of Austria celebrates after his successful jump on Sunday, Oct. 14, 2012 in Roswell, N.M. Baumgartner came down safely in the eastern New Mexico desert minutes about nine minutes after jumping from his capsule 128,097 feet, or roughly 24 miles, above Earth (AP Photo/Red Bull, Predrag Vuckovic)
In this photo provided by Red Bull, pilot Felix Baumgartner of Austria lands in the desert after his successful jump on Sunday, Oct. 14, 2012 in Roswell, N.M. Baumgartner came down safely in the eastern New Mexico desert minutes about nine minutes after jumping from his capsule 128,097 feet, or roughly 24 miles, above Earth (AP Photo/Red Bull, Predrag Vuckovic)
In this photo provided by Red Bull, Pilot Felix Baumgartner of Austria jumps out from the capsule during the final manned flight for Red Bull Stratos in Roswell, N.M., Sunday, Oct. 14, 2012. Baumgartner came down safely in the eastern New Mexico desert minutes about nine minutes after jumping from his capsule 128,097 feet, or roughly 24 miles, above Earth. (AP Photo/Red Bull, Stefan Aufschnaiter)
Felix Baumgartner, of Austria, pumps his fist to the crowd after successfully jumping from a space capsule lifted by a helium balloon at a height of just over 128,000 feet above the Earth's surface, Sunday, Oct. 14, 2012, in Roswell, N.M. Baumgartner came down safely in the eastern New Mexico desert minutes about nine minutes after jumping from his capsule 128,097 feet, or roughly 24 miles, above Earth (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
In this photo provided by Red Bull, crew members at the mission control watch the jump of pilot Felix Baumgartner of Austria in Roswell, N.M. on Sunday, Oct. 14, 2012. Baumgartner came down safely in the eastern New Mexico desert minutes about nine minutes after jumping from his capsule 128,097 feet, or roughly 24 miles, above Earth (AP Photo/Red Bull Joerg Mitter)
The capsule and attached helium balloon carrying Felix Baumgartner lifts off as he attempts to break the speed of sound with his own body by jumping from a space capsule lifted by a helium balloon, Sunday, Oct. 14, 2012, in Roswell, N.M. Baumgartner plans to jump from an altitude of 120,000 feet, an altitude chosen to enable him to achieve Mach 1 in free fall, which would deliver scientific data to the aerospace community about human survival from high altitudes.(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
FILE - This photo provided by Red Bull Stratos shows pilot Felix Baumgartner of Austria reacting after his mission was aborted in Roswell, N.M., on Oct. 9, 2012. on Sunday, Oct. 14, 2012, mission control officials declared a "weather hold" until 8:15 a.m. MDT, and said that inflation of the balloon wouldn't begin until after that hold is lifted. Earlier, the launch team said they were aiming for the three-hour ascent to begin Sunday at 8 a.m. The jump was postponed twice last week because of high winds. (AP Photo/Red Bull Stratos, Joerg Mitter)
A helicopter hovers above the helium balloon, attached to the capsule carrying Felix Baumgartner, before he attempts to break the speed of sound with his own body by jumping from the space capsule, Sunday, Oct. 14, 2012, in Roswell, N.M. Baumgartner plans to jump from an altitude of 120,000 feet, an altitude chosen to enable him to achieve Mach 1 in free fall, which would deliver scientific data to the aerospace community about human survival from high altitudes. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
The capsule and attached helium balloon carrying Felix Baumgartner begins to lift off as he attempts to break the speed of sound with his own body by jumping from a space capsule lifted by a helium balloon, Sunday, Oct. 14, 2012, in Roswell, N.M. Baumgartner plans to jump from an altitude of 120,000 feet, an altitude chosen to enable him to achieve Mach 1 in free fall, which would deliver scientific data to the aerospace community about human survival from high altitudes.(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
The capsule and attached helium balloon carrying Felix Baumgartner just leaves the ground as it lifts off as he attempts to break the speed of sound with his own body by jumping from a space capsule lifted by a helium balloon, Sunday, Oct. 14, 2012, in Roswell, N.M. Baumgartner plans to jump from an altitude of 120,000 feet, an altitude chosen to enable him to achieve Mach 1 in free fall, which would deliver scientific data to the aerospace community about human survival from high altitudes.(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
The capsule, bottom left, and attached helium balloon carrying Felix Baumgartner lifts off as he attempts to break the speed of sound with his own body by jumping from a space capsule lifted by a helium balloon, Sunday, Oct. 14, 2012, in Roswell, N.M. Baumgartner plans to jump from an altitude of 120,000 feet, an altitude chosen to enable him to achieve Mach 1 in free fall, which would deliver scientific data to the aerospace community about human survival from high altitudes.(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
The capsule and attached helium balloon carrying Felix Baumgartner lifts off as he attempts to break the speed of sound with his own body by jumping from a space capsule lifted by a helium balloon, Sunday, Oct. 14, 2012, in Roswell, N.M. Baumgartner plans to jump from an altitude of 120,000 feet, an altitude chosen to enable him to achieve Mach 1 in free fall, which would deliver scientific data to the aerospace community about human survival from high altitudes.(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
In this July 25, 2012 photo provided by Red Bull Stratos, a balloon lifts up during the second manned test flight for Red Bull Stratos in Roswell, N.M. It's described as a '40-acre dry cleaner bag,' that, when first filled, will stretch 55 stories high. On Monday, this special ultra-thin helium balloon is scheduled to liftoff from Roswell, N.M., to carry "Fearless Felix" Baumgartner 23 miles into the stratosphere for what he hopes will be a history-making, sound barrier-breaking skydive. (AP Photo/Red Bull Stratos)
Felix Baumgartner intends to plummet 125,000ft from the edge of space back to earth
Felix Baumgartner is aiming to become the first person to break the speed of sound with the human body (AP)

Extreme athlete Felix Baumgartner landed safely on Earth after a 24-mile jump from the stratosphere in a dramatic, record-breaking feat that may also have marked the world's first supersonic skydive.

Baumgartner, from Austria, came down in the eastern New Mexico desert minutes after jumping from his capsule 128,097 feet, or 24 miles, above Earth.

He lifted his arms in victory shortly after landing, setting off loud cheers from jubilant onlookers and friends inside the mission's control centre in Roswell, New Mexico.

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It was the highest-ever jump for a skydiver, though it was not immediately certain whether Baumgartner had broken the speed of sound during his free-fall, which was one of the goals of the mission. Organisers said the descent lasted for just over nine minutes, about half of it in free-fall.

Three hours earlier, Baumgartner, known as "Fearless Felix," had taken off in a pressurised capsule carried by a 55-storey ultra-thin helium balloon. After an at-times tense ascent, which included concerns about how well his facial shield was working, the 43-year-old former military parachutist completed a final safety check-list with mission control.

As he exited his capsule from high above Earth, he flashed a thumbs-up sign, well aware that the feat was being shown on a live-stream on the internet with a 20-second delay.

During the ensuing jump - from more than three times the height of the average cruising altitude for jetliners - Baumgartner was expected to hit a speed of 690 mph.

Any contact with the capsule on his exit could have torn his pressurised suit, a rip that could expose him to a lack of oxygen and temperatures as low as minus 70 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 57 degrees Celsius). That could have caused lethal bubbles to form in his bodily fluids.

But none of that happened. He activated his parachute as he neared Earth, gently gliding into the desert east of Roswell and landing without any apparent difficulty. He then was taken by helicopter to meet fellow members of his team, whom he hugged in celebration.

Coincidentally, Baumgartner's attempted feat also marked the 65th anniversary of US test pilot Chuck Yeager's successful attempt to become the first man to officially break the sound barrier aboard an airplane.

At Baumgartner's insistence, some 30 cameras on the capsule, the ground and a helicopter recorded the event. While it had been pegged as a live broadcast, organisers said was actually under a 20-second delay in case of a tragic accident.

Shortly after launch, screens at mission control showed the capsule as it began rising high above the New Mexico desert, with cheers erupting from organisers. Baumgartner could be seen on video, calmly checking instruments inside the capsule.

Baumgartner's team included Joe Kittinger, who first attempted to break the sound barrier from 19.5 miles up in 1960, reaching a speed of 614 mph, just under the sound barrier. With Kittinger inside mission control today, the two men could be heard going over technical details during the ascension.

"Our guardian angel will take care of you," Kittinger radioed to Baumgartner around the 100,000-foot mark. Kittinger noted that, it was getting "really serious" now.

An hour into the flight, Baumgartner had ascended more than 63,000 feet and had gone through a trial run of the jump sequence that will send him plummeting toward Earth. Ballast was dropped to speed up the ascent.

Kittinger told him, "Everything is in the green. Doing great."

As Baumgartner ascended in the balloon, so did the number of viewers watching on YouTube. Nearly 7.3 million watched as he sat on the edge of the capsule moments before jumping. After he landed, Red Bull posted a picture of Baumgartner on his knees on the ground to Facebook, generating nearly 216,000 likes, 10,000 comments and more than 29,000 shares in less than 40 minutes.

On Twitter, half the worldwide trending topics had something to do with the jump, pushing past seven National Football League games.

Among the tweets was one from NASA: "Congratulations to Felix Baumgartner and RedBull Stratos on record-breaking leap from the edge of space!"

This attempt, sponsored by the energy drink maker Red Bull, marked the end of a five-year road for Baumgartner, a record-setting high-altitude jumper. He had already made two preparation jumps in the area, one from 15 miles high and another from 18 miles high. It will also be the end of his extreme altitude jumping career; he has promised this will be his final jump.

Baumgartner has said he plans to settle down with his girlfriend and fly helicopters on mountain rescue and firefighting missions in the US and Austria.

Dr Jonathan Clark, Baumgartner's medical director, had told reporters he expected the pressurised spacesuit to protect him from the shock waves of breaking the sound barrier. A successful jump could lead NASA to certify a new generation of spacesuits for protecting astronauts and provide an escape option from spacecraft at 120,000 feet, he said.

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