On Sunday evening Felix Baumgartner an Austrian skydiver travelled faster than the speed of sound as he skydived from approximately 128,100 feet above ground from a balloon in Roswell, New Mexico.
It took the 43 year old two and half hours to reach the correct ‘float’ altitude; at approximately 24.5 miles above ground. Once at this height Felix fell out of the sky and tumbled through air as he initially could not control his direction.
The freefall lasted for around 4 and a half minutes and Felix reached a maximum speed of 833 mph.
Felix’s fall was watched by many as it was broadcast live all across the world. Initially there was silence at Mission Control in Roswell but cheers and clapping were soon heard from his friends and family as his fall turned into a reassuring and controlled descent.
After a few minutes Felix pulled the chute that opened his parachute thus being able to control his final moments through the air and his path to landing. By this point it was safe to say that Felix had successfully completed his decent.
Felix travelled in a purpose-built capsule beneath a giant helium balloon and was wearing a specially designed suit that was made to withstand the extreme cold and low pressures that he would experience.
Felix broke three world records: the highest free-fall jump, the fastest free-fall speed and the highest balloon flight by a human.
His skydive was described as being a ‘big win for science’. The data collected from his journey will be used to gain more information about space travel, including ideas for the safety and emergency of evacuation from vehicles.
At a press conference after the fall Felix said “When I was standing there on top of the world, you become so humble. You don’t think about breaking records any more you don’t think about gaining scientific data – the only thing that you want is to come back alive.”