World watches as sky diver breaks record with 24-mile fall

Published On October 15, 2012 | By Jill Saftel

With the football season in full swing and the MLB postseason capturing fans’ attention, we took a break from our usual sports news Sunday to watch something just a little bit crazy, but truly amazing.

Felix Baumgartner, Austrian sky diver and daredevil, captured the world’s attention when he fell 24 miles from space, thus being the first human to travel faster than the speed of sound without assistance from an aircraft, according to the Washington Post.

All the data and records on Baumgartner’s jump are preliminary, but as of now according to the National Aeronautic Association he reached a speed of 833.9 miles per hour. The fall only took a total of four minutes and twenty seconds, but he appears to have broken three records.

The first is the highest jump from a platform, then he knocked out the longest free fall without a drogue parachute, and finally one you might expect, the highest vertical velocity.

The 43-year-old completed his dive above Roswell, NM. The location was chosen because of its favorable weather conditions. If the feat seems like a scary thing to do alone, Baumgartner actually had one person guiding him through. Retired Air Force Col. Joseph Kittinger, who previously held the record for highest sky dive, was the only person to communicate with Baumgartner during the fall.

So how does it feel to travel faster than sound? Baumgartner actually doesn’t know. He wore a pressurized suit that protected him against the thin air at such high altitudes and kept his bodily fluids from boiling. Baumgartner said it was “hard to describe” because he “didn’t feel it at all.”

“These are mind-blowing numbers,” Baumgartner said at a news conference. “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.”



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About The Author

Jill studies journalism at Northeastern University, covers Hockey East for College Hockey News and is the sports editor for The Huntington News. You can follow her on Twitter at @jillsaftel, just don't ask her to choose between hockey and baseball, it's impossible.