Felix Baumgartner jumped from the edge of space yesterday after his planned mission was postponed last week due to unfavorable weather conditions. The world watched via the Red Bull Stratos live feed as he fell through the air, conquering the world record for the highest freefall ever.
The launch took place at dawn yesterday in Roswell, New Mexico. With the help of a crane, Baumgartner’s capsule was launched into the air. His ascent started slowly and lasted a little less than three hours. As he climbed further from the Earth, the temperatures plummeted, and he began to pick up speed– so much so that the helium balloon attached to the craft had to be gradually inflated to slow it down.
As Baumgartner reached the 120,000 feet limit, United States Air Force Colonel Joe Kittinger walked him through 34 steps. He stepped out onto ledge. And he jumped.
Without air resistance he fell for a minute and spun. He finally adjusted himself, his parachute deployed and his descent from the rim of space slowed. He breaks the record for highest jump at 24 miles in the air and the longest flight lasting for four minutes and 22 seconds.
At his landing, he fell to his knees and cheers alongside his team in Roswell and his family. Reporters and photographers immediately rush to him. According to USA Today, Baumgartner had his fears about the jump. “I never felt like I was going to die, but I did think that if I don’t get myself out of this [spin] I won’t break the speed of sound,” he said. “That would have been a big disappointment because I just don’t have any energy left to do this again.”
The jump was originally scheduled last week, however due to unfavorable wind conditions it was postponed until weather conditions improved. On the postponing of such a monumental event Baumgartner said, “Doing this [today] was pure luck… but it was a great honor to break the sound barrier outside of a plane on this day.” His ultimate mission was accomplished. However, his free fall did not break Kittinger’s 1960 record of four minutes and 36 seconds.
It is a nothing less than a miracle for Felix Baumgartner to have survived such a fall. He’s an inspiration to thrill seekers everywhere and a world-record-holder in multiple categories.