October 15, 2012
Skydiver Breaks Speed of Sound
Austrian Felix Baumgartner has become the first skydiver to break the speed of sound.
Baumgartner said his jump Sunday from more than 38 kilometers above the New Mexico desert was more difficult than anything he has done.
"When I was standing there on top of the world you become so humble you do not think about breaking records anymore," he said. "You do not think about gaining scientific data. The only thing that you want is -- you 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."
Brian Utley of the International Federation of Sports Aviation said Baumgartner reached a maximum speed of 1,342 kph (833.9 mph) during the jump.
That amounts to Mach 1.24, which is faster than the speed of sound. No one has ever reached that speed wearing only a high-tech suit.
Baumgartner also broke a 52-year-old record for the highest parachute jump, and set an altitude record for a balloon passenger. He rode in a pressurized capsule carried aloft by a balloon filled with 850,00 cubic meters of helium before making his leap.
Baumgartner landed safely about 10 minutes after jumping from the capsule.
The Austrian daredevil broke the high-altitude jump record set in 1960 by American Joe Kittinger, who helped with Baumgartner's jump.
The jump was completed 65 years to the day after Chuck Yeager broke the speed barrier for the first time in the Bell X-1 airplane.