On solid ground. Photo: Red Bull
On Sunday at 11:31 a.m. EST, 43-year-old Austrian daredevil Felix Baumgartner lifted off in a capsule attached to a 55-story balloon made of plastic one-tenth the thickness of a sandwich bag and floated roughly 24 miles into the air so that he could jump. "One of the most exciting moments was standing out on top of the world, 30 seconds before stepping off," Baumgartner said.
After Baumgartner stepped off, he added multiple extreme records to his resume. Here are the details of his slow rise and supersonic fall, focusing on the numbers.
2 HOURS, 21 MINUTES: Time it took Baumgartner to float more than 128,000 feet above the ground, the highest distance ever traveled by a person in a balloon.
128,097 FEET: Elevation from which Baumgartner jumped, or the equivalent of roughly 24 miles. It was the highest free fall ever completed.
4 MINUTES, 19 SECONDS: Time Baumgartner spent in free fall.
614MPH: World record free fall speed reached by Joe Kittinger during a 102,800-foot jump in 1960. Kittinger still holds the record for the longest free fall, with a time of four minutes, 36 seconds.
706.49MPH: Maximum estimated speed (unofficial) reached by Baumgartner during a drop that saw him tumble end over end before righting himself into a steady position. The speed, if certified, would be a new world record and make Baumgartner the first man to break the speed of sound in free fall. "I didn't feel a sonic boom because I was so busy just trying to stabilize myself," said Baumgartner. "We'll have to wait and see if we really broke the sound barrier."