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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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Perfect example of private industry > NASA
By Lord 666 on 10/15/2012 3:17:04 AM , Rating: -1
Would be interesting to see how much this cost Red Bull.

Either way, first Space X and now Team Red Bull proving private industry is more nimble, faster, and gets the job done without BS red tape.

By inperfectdarkness on 10/15/2012 4:17:35 AM , Rating: 2
well the suits that U2 pilots use cost about $200,000 each. add the additional 50,000+ in design operating altitute (cabin pressure != u2 operating altitude), parachute, and a few other bells and whistles. then you've got a gondola that has to get to altitude. granted, an unpressurized one designed for only 1 person...but still.

i'd say 5 million is probably a conservative figure.

funny thing is, he's not even close to qualifying for an astronaut badge.

RE: Perfect example of private industry > NASA
By Lord 666 on 10/15/12, Rating: -1
By 91TTZ on 10/15/2012 12:34:56 PM , Rating: 2
='s old NASA way of thinking. Using ridiculously high and artificial limitations to say who or what goes in space


Even NASA considers private spaceflight to be spaceflight. People who ride the SpaceShipTwo into space will go into space under NASA's definition.

The other poster merely stated (correctly) that this balloon didn't go nearly high enough to be in space.

By Dr of crap on 10/15/2012 8:23:37 AM , Rating: 2
Yea, when you pay 10 times what the drink should cost you make them big profits that they can spend on crazy stuff!

By bsd228 on 10/15/2012 2:24:42 PM , Rating: 1
How exactly is this proof of industry > NASA/government?

The government did the Kittinger jump 3 years after Sputnik, and without the benefit of substantial technology improvements and space travel experience. Felix has been working on this project better than a decade and several others have also been trying the past couple decades.

It was a very successful project and personally I thought Red Bull deserved the level of brand visibility given their financial support. But nimble and faster don't apply here.

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