News / USA

Skydiver Breaks Speed of Sound

This photo provided by Red Bull Stratos shows pilot Felix Baumgartner of Austria as he jumps out of the capsule, October 14, 2012.
This photo provided by Red Bull Stratos shows pilot Felix Baumgartner of Austria as he jumps out of the capsule, October 14, 2012.
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.
 
  • In a leap from more than 39 km (24 miles) up, Felix Baumgartner made the highest jump ever -- a tumbling, death-defying plunge from a balloon to a safe landing in the New Mexico desert, Oct. 14. 2012.
  • Baumgartner jumps out of the capsule during the final manned flight for Red Bull Stratos on Oct. 14, 2012.
  • Baumgartner jumps out of the capsule during the final manned flight for Red Bull Stratos on Oct. 14, 2012.
  • Felix Baumgartner's mother Ava Baumgartner, middle, watches with other family members and friends as his capsule lifts off.
  • Baumgartner is seen in a screen at mission control center in Roswell, N.M., Oct. 14, 2012.
  • Felix Baumgartner sits in his trailer before the flight.
  • The capsule and attached helium balloon carrying Baumgartner lifts off from Roswell, N.M.
  • Baumgartner waves after his successful jump. He came down safely in the eastern New Mexico desert about nine minutes after jumping from his capsule roughly 39 km (24 miles) above Earth.
  • Baumgartner and Technical Project Director Art Thompson celebrate after successfully completing the flight in Roswell, N.M., Oct. 14, 2012.
  • Baumgartner said after his jump, "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 you want is you want to come back alive."
  • Baumgartner leaves his capsule on Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2012, after his mission was aborted due to high winds.

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.

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