Watch the jump live above.
Red Bull Stratos team leaders say there is a 50-50 chance this morning that Austrian stuntman Felix Baumgartner will lift off in a capsule carried by a 55-story-high, lightweight plastic balloon and rise 23 miles above the earth's surface so that he can jump. If everything goes according to plan, he will rocket down at speeds of roughly 700 miles per hour, breaking the sound barrier in his custom-designed jumpsuit while shattering the record for the fastest ever freefall by a human before deploying a parachute about a mile above the earth and floating to the ground. The current skydive record is held by Joe Kittinger, who traveled 19 miles above the earth in 1960 and jumped before reaching speeds estimated to be 614 miles per hour. “From the beginning of mankind, the boys want to go higher, faster, lower,” Kittinger said in The New York Times. “It’s a fascinating part of human nature. We’re never satisfied with the status quo.”