Print 44 comment(s) - last by delphinus100.. on Oct 15 at 8:37 PM

Baumgartner used a helium balloon to travel the 24 miles up, and jumped safely to the ground

A daredevil skydiver has landed safely on the ground after jumping from the edge of space Sunday morning.

Felix Baumgartner, an Austrian helicopter pilot and former soldier, made a risky jump from a helium balloon at 11:30 a.m. ET Sunday morning. He broke the record for the highest jump at 128,000 feet (or 24 miles) above Earth.

One of Baumgartner's goals during the jump was to break the speed of sound, which would make him the first human to do so without the protection of a vehicle. According to reports, he was able to achieve this.

Baumgartner used a helium balloon to travel the 24 miles up, which was made of material only .0008 of an inch thick. The balloon posed risks on its own, with its shape and size changing as it climbed higher toward space.

Baumgartner wore only a pressurized helmet and suit, which weighed 100 pounds total. He also had sensors and recorders attached to him, which kept an eye on his speed, heart rate, etc.

Once Baumgartner reached the 24 miles, he jumped out of the capsule attached to the helium balloon and fell for less than five minutes. He crouched into a "delta" position to maximize acceleration, and then deployed his parachute for the remaining 5,000 feet toward Earth. His maximum speed was Mach 1.24 (833.9 mph), breaking the sound barrier.

Many things could have gone wrong during the jump. For instance, the pressurized suit could have proved to be too weak, allowing Baumgartner's blood to vaporize in the thin atmosphere. It was also 70 degrees below zero Fahrenheit in some cases during the fall, which could have sent Baumgartner into hypothermia. If Baumgartner were to lose consciousness at any time during the fall, he would have to depend on his parachute deploying automatically.

[Image Source: Fading Crown]

On top of that, breaking the sound barrier could have had unknown effects on the body.

"You have to remember all the procedures," said Baumgartner. "You know you're in a really hostile environment. And you cannot think about anything else. You have to be focused. Otherwise, you're gonna die."

Baumgartner nearly made the jump last Tuesday, but foul weather delayed his record-breaking jump another five days. He was preparing the balloon at his launch site in Roswell, New Mexico, but a large gust of wind twisted the balloon to the point of destroying it.

Baumgartner landed in the eastern New Mexico desert safely Sunday afternoon.

You can rewatch the event right here courtesy of YouTube:

Sources: CBS News, CNN, Boston

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By Brandon Hill on 10/14/2012 9:34:12 PM , Rating: 3
When he first jumped out and started spinning/tumbling, my heart skipped a few beats.

RE: Spinning
By bigboxes on 10/15/12, Rating: -1
RE: Spinning
By dani31 on 10/15/2012 4:05:00 AM , Rating: 4
Seriously, who gives a crap. Why are we worshipping these guys?

The guy jumped from space in a nasa-style setup. What's cooler than that?

Oh, did I mention that skydiving is f*ckin great?

RE: Spinning
By zippyzoo on 10/15/12, Rating: -1
RE: Spinning
By Paj on 10/15/2012 8:50:51 AM , Rating: 3
Lame troll

RE: Spinning
By nafhan on 10/15/2012 10:45:38 AM , Rating: 5
Why are we worshipping these guys?
For science!

Seriously, pushing the limits of what humans are physically capable of achieving usually has plenty of unexpected benefits. To add a little more perspective: we live in a society where it's socially acceptable to spend 20+ hours a week screaming at a TV showing adult men running around chasing a ball. I just don't see how you can complain about people being excited over a man jumping from the edge of the atmosphere and achieving Mach 1 in a free fall.

Also: apparently there's a sh!t-ton of money to be made by selling caffeinated sugar water.

RE: Spinning
By TSS on 10/15/2012 3:20:29 AM , Rating: 1
Why? Thought he'd hit something?

You're xx miles above the surface of the earth, you've already broken a few world records and now you've just heard over the comm you went 700+ MPH, faster then sound (as well as that you're going at maximum speed). Plus you need to slow down.

What would you do? Riverdance?

RE: Spinning
By Visual on 10/15/2012 5:15:18 AM , Rating: 5
I will just assume you are not trolling on purpose but are being genuinely clueless.
Rotation creates significant centrifugal forces on the extremities of his body, if he failed to control it he would have died a very ugly death.
Well done to him for getting that under control. Awesome job.

RE: Spinning
By Brandon Hill on 10/15/2012 7:56:48 AM , Rating: 5
Just look at the helmet cam footage:

If you can just look at that and go "meh", then more power to ya!

RE: Spinning
By Reclaimer77 on 10/15/2012 1:39:35 PM , Rating: 2
WoW! What is it about this topic that brings out all the idiots and haters?

But it's TSS, why am I not surprised?

RE: Spinning
By bsd228 on 10/15/2012 2:32:39 PM , Rating: 2
Why? Thought he'd hit something?

Even at more pedestrian altitudes for skydiving, it is possible to spin out of control, lose conscience. And even at 'slower' speeds seen by freefliers and speed divers (200-300+ mph), you can hurt yourself if you lose control and tumble - the sudden extra drag can punish the limbs. Just stick your hand out the window of a car going 60 and now imagine 10x the force being abruptly applied.

This jump isn't a simple matter of putting on the suit and taking that first step, even for the skydivers.

RE: Spinning
By delphinus100 on 10/15/2012 8:20:27 PM , Rating: 2
No, you could pass out in a seriously fast spin.

Not good, even with an automatic chute, under the very conditions you describe. My only concern was that very one: Could he maintain stability?

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