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On Sunday, October 14, Felix Baumgartner, a skydiver keen on extreme sports, successfully jumped from the edge of space. He made a long-awaited jump from a height of 39 kilometer and landed near a military base situated in Roswell, New Mexico.
He took off in a pressurized capsule carried by a 55-story ultra-thin helium balloon. As he exited his capsule from the scheduled height, he flashed a thumbs-up sign, aware that his feat was being shown on a live-stream via the Internet. He lifted his arms in victory shortly after landing, sending off loud cheers from onlookers and friends inside the mission’s control center in Roswell. It has been estimated that eight million people from all over the world watched the breath-taking jump. The leap became more than just entertainment – Sunday’s launch coincided with the 65th anniversary of American pilot Chuck Yeager breaking the sound barrier, and set the record for parachute jumps in altitude.
During the first part of Baumgartner’s free fall, anxious onlookers at the command center held their breath as he appeared to spin uncontrollably.
“When I was spinning first 10, 20 seconds, I never thought I was going to lose my life but I was disappointed because I’m going to lose my record. I put seven years of my life into this,” he said. “In that situation, when you spin around, it’s like hell and you don’t know if you can get out of that spin or not. Of course, it was terrifying. I was fighting all the way down because I knew that there must be a moment where I can handle it,” he added.
“When you stand there on top of the world, you do not think about breaking records anymore, you do not think about gaining scientific data. The only thing you want is to come back alive,” Baumgartner said after the jump.
The jump was made with the help of the Red Bull Stratos program. The aim of this program is to make new skydive record the edge of the earth’s atmosphere.
Felix Baumgartner made three new world records on Sunday. The first record is the highest stratospheric balloon flight, the second is the most altitudinal parachute jump, and the third is the fastest free fall. The speed of Baumgartner’s free fall reached 1713 kilometers per hour and the time of his free flight was four minutes and twenty seconds.
Felix Baumgartner’s life story
Felix Baumgartner, a former military skydiver, comes from Austria and has more than 2500 leaps from different monuments, skyscrapers, planes and helicopters behind. This year in July he jumped from the height of 29 kilometer, making the speed of 862 kilometers per hour during the free fall. After this he also successfully landed in New Mexico.
“Sometimes we have to get really high to see how small we are,” Baumgartner told reporters outside mission control, shortly after the jump. “Honestly, I want to inspire the next generation. I would love to be here in four years and there a young guy sitting next to me because he wants to break my record,” he said.
Joseph William Kittinger: the master
Joseph William Kittinger II, a U.S. air force officer, was born in 1928, on July 27. He is most famous for his participation in Project Manhigh and Project Excelsior. Kittinger made the third peak leap on August 16 in 1960 within the framework of the Project Excelsior from a height of 31,3 kilometer. Kittinger’s free fall lasted for 4 minutes and 36 seconds, reaching a speed of 988 kilometer per hour. He was also the first man to make a solo crossing of the Atlantic Ocean in a gas balloon.
Kittinger held the previous world record for the jump that Baumgartner broke this weekend.
Image Courtesy of Felix Baumgartner