15 Oct 2012

Felix Baumgartner’s 24-mile skydive triumph

Austrian skydiver Felix Baumgartner survives a record-breaking 24-mile leap from the stratosphere to become the first person to break the sound barrier without the aid of a vehicle.

Felix Baumgartner hit Mach 1.24 (named after his Austrian compatriot Ernst Mach), or 833.9mph (1,342kph), on Sunday, according to preliminary data. He became the first man to reach supersonic speed without travelling in a jet or a spacecraft after hopping out of a capsule that had reached an altitude of 128,100 feet (39,045 metres) above the earth.

Gallery: Skydiving from the edge of space

Landing on his feet in the desert, the man known as “Fearless Felix” lifted his arms in victory to the cheers of jubilant friends and spectators who closely followed his descent in a live television feed at the command centre.


After his jump, which was broadcast live around the world, the Austrian thanked those who had made his “dream” possible: “Well, first of all these are some mind-blowing numbers, but I couldn’t have done it without my team, because you are only as good as your team is. I want to thank everybody who was joining my dream.

“And let me tell you when I was standing there on top of the world you become so humble you do not think about breaking records anymore, you do not think about gaining scientific data.

“The only thing that you want is to come back alive because you don’t want to die in front of your parents, your girlfriend and all of the people watching this.

“This became the most important thing to me when I was out there.”

Watch: Felix Baumgartner’s historic jump recreated in Lego

Baumgartner, who has also base-jumped from the statue of Christ the Redeemer in Brazil, had postponed the first attempt a few days earlier.

He had prepared his breathing, got into the suit and entered the capsule balloon last Tuesday 9 October but the jump team again postponed the operation due to weather conditions.

“Whoa, gusty winds are taking that balloon down now,” said the Red Bull announcer from Roswell, New Mexico on a live broadcast. “That’s going to be a problem. There’s the decision. Abort the attempt… They had the window for a short while. But the winds are a huge concern.”

The Red Bull Stratos team, which has organised the death-defying feat, is hoping information from the jump can be used to advance scientific discoveries in the field of aerospace