Earlier today, Austria’s Felix Baumgartner has successfully completed a supersonic free fall attempt from the altitude of 39,045 meters (128,100 feet) to become the first man to hit the speed of sound in a free fall. Pending official confirmation from respective governing bodies, Felix attempt has technically shattered three different world records – highest and fastest free fall as well as the highest manned balloon flight.
After an aborted launch due to unfavorable weather last week, this morning’s free fall attempt also has its fair share of drama such as a power malfunction for his helmet’s visor which has impaired his vision and he also appeared to be spinning for a brief moment during his free fall. Coincidentally, Felix’s achievements today happened exactly 65 years after Major General Chuck Yeager hit the speed of sound with a Bell X-1 experimental rocket plane in 1947.
A well-known skydiver with many daring leaps under his records including from our own Petronas Twin Tower in 1999, Felix’s successful attempt this morning was the climax of the Red Bull Stratos project which was set in motion five years ago and involved a number of experts in their field including previous world record holder of the highest and fastest free fall, Colonel Joseph Kittinger. According to the scientific value section of Red Bull Stratos’ official website, the mission hopes to provide valuable information that will be able to help in the area of aerospace safety.
It was indeed a sight to behold as Felix made the historic leap of faith from the Red Bull Stratos capsule as you can see from the screenshot above that we captured during the live webcast of the mission this morning. If you missed the attempt, head on to www.redbullstratos.com to check it out.