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World record: Daredevil Felix Baumgartner skydives from 24.2 miles above Earth

The Austrian skydiver jumped from about 128,000 feet above earth – breaking the sound barrier in his four-minute freefall.

Felix Baumgartner touches down in New Mexico after jumping from 24.2 miles above ground - a new world record.
Felix Baumgartner touches down in New Mexico after jumping from 24.2 miles above ground - a new world record.
Image: Red Bull Stratos via Facebook

SKYDIVER FELIX BAUMGARTNER has made aviation history – setting a new world record for the highest ever skydive.

The Austrian daredevil jumped from a record 24.2 miles above Earth – setting new world records for the fastest human freefall, the highest skydive and the highest manned flight in a balloon.

The 43-year-old jumped after a 140-minute journey brought him from a base at Roswell, New Mexico to 128,000 feet above ground at about 7:10pm Irish time.

He was in freefall for about four-and-a-half minutes before deploying a parachute and gliding to the ground – landing on his feet.

A spokeswoman later added that Baumgartner had broken the sound barrier in his freefall back to Earth – becoming the first person ever to do so unaided.

His capsule was being parachuted back to Earth, and carrying a trove of readings and data which engineers hope can eventually be used to ensure the safety of regular civilian spaceflight.

Baumgartner, an Austrian daredevil and skydiver, had been preparing for the mission for years – and in July successfully jumped to Earth from 18 miles.

Two attempts earlier this week had to be aborted due to inclement weather conditions, and today’s attempt was delayed for several hours as mild ground winds posed a risk to the balloon that was bringing the Austrian into the air.

The mission director for the Red Bull Stratos project, Joseph Kittinger, held the previous record for the highest skydive, at 19 miles.

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Gavan Reilly

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