Daredevil's jump shatters sound barrier and breaks record

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By Sarah Barchus

An Austrian daredevil shattered the sound barrier Sunday, setting the record for the highest and fastest jump in history, The New York Times reported.

"Fearless" Felix Baumgartner rode a helium balloon to the edge of space--and then he jumped. After breaking the sound barrier, descending at speeds of up to 830 mph during a four-minute free-fall and traveling 24 miles, Baumgartner landed safely in New Mexico, his heart and fists pumping, the Cable News Network reported.

Via YouTube over 8 million people watched the historical jump live, CNN reported.

They weren't the only ones watching. Retired Air Force colonel and former jump record holder Joe Kittinger was with Baumgartner from the start. He and a 300 person NASA-style mission control operation worked on the project, called Red Bull Stratos after the sponsoring drink company, for five years, The New York Times reported.

During his journey, Baumgartner wore a pressurized helmet and flight suit with sensors to measure and record everything from his speed to his heart rate, CNN reported.

Even with special equipment, Baumgartner encountered challenges. Three minutes into the free fall, a foggy visor clouded his vision and he experienced "flat spins," CNN reported. These spins cause blood to rush away from the center of the body and can result in death, The New York Times reported.

Baumgartner also struggled with claustrophobia while he was in the suit. However, with his team's help and Kittinger's reassurance, Baumgartner was able to remain in control, The New York Times reported.

"All right, step up on the exterior step. Start the cameras. And our guardian angel will take care of you now," Kittinger said right before the jump, The New York Times reported.

"This is way bigger than I had anticipated," Baumgartner said, CNN reported.

And it was. Red Bull Stratos medical director Dr. Jonathan Clark said they were "testing new spacesuits, escape concepts and treatment protocols for pressure loss at extreme altitudes," The New York Times reported.

"Future astronauts will wear the spacesuit that Felix test-jumped today," Kittinger said, The New York Times reported.

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This page contains a single entry by barch009 published on October 15, 2012 10:06 AM.

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