Austrian daredevil completes jump from space

Monday 15 October 2012 08.19
Felix Baumgartner jumped from over three times the average cruising altitude for jets
Felix Baumgartner jumped from over three times the average cruising altitude for jets

An Austrian daredevil leapt into the stratosphere from a balloon hovering near the edge of space 38km above Earth this evening.

He broke as many as three world records, including the highest skydive ever, project sponsors said.

Cheers broke out as Felix Baumgartner, 43, jumped from a skateboard sized shelf outside the fibreglass and acrylic capsule that was carried into the stratosphere by an enormous balloon.

His body pierced the atmosphere at speeds topping 1,110kph, appearing to achieve another of his goals: to become the first skydiver to break the speed of sound, according to the project website.

He sped toward Earth on the 65th anniversary of legendary American pilot Chuck Yeager's flight shattering the sound barrier on 14 October 1947.

"Looks like he probably broke Mach," project commentator Bob Hager said, referring to Mach 1, used to measure the speed of sound.

Mr Baumgartner broke records for the highest altitude manned balloon flight and the highest altitude skydive before landing safely on the ground and raising his arms in a victory salute about 10 minutes after he stepped into the air.

As his teary-eyed mother, father and girlfriend watched on monitors miles below, Mr Baumgartner prepared to jump from the pressurized capsule by going through a checklist of 40 items with project adviser Joe Kittinger, holder of a 30km altitude parachute jump record that Mr Baumgartner smashed.

Earlier in the flight, he expressed concern that his astronaut-like helmet was not heating properly.

"This is very serious, Joe," said Mr Baumgartner. "Sometimes it's getting foggy when I exhale. ... I do not feel heat."

Mr Baumgartner's ascent into the stratosphere took about two and a half hours.

He jumped from more than three times the height of the average cruising altitude for jets.

Keywords: felix baumgartner