Red Bull's Felix Baumgartner breaks sound barrier with free-fall jump (VIDEO)


Pilot Felix Baumgartner of Austria lands in the desert during the second manned test flight for Red Bull Stratos in Roswell, New Mexico, USA on July 25, 2012.??Red Bull Stratos is a mission to the edge of space to an altitude of 37.000 meters to break several records including the sound of speed in freefall.


Joerg Mitter

Felix Baumgartner broke the sound barrier by jumping from space at 128,100 feet today, according to preliminary data presented by officials at a RedBull press conference

"When you are standing there at the top of the world, you become so humble," Baumgartner told reporters. "You don't think about records anymore," adding that he was mostly concerned with staying "alive." 

Asked what he said when he was just about to jump -- the audio feed was unclear -- Baumgartner recalled saying: "I know the whole world is watching now, and I wish they could see what I can see."

Baumgarter's historic leap sent him spinning wildly for the initial few seconds as he penetrated the sound barrier after jumping out of a special pressurized capsule.

Officials said he was descending at speed of 83.9 miles an hour, or 373 meters per second -- which translates to Mach 1.24.

To get the Mach number you take the speed of the object (in this case, Baumgarter) and divide it by the speed of sound. 

Baumgarter, hurdling in space at a level higher than 1.0, had gone supersonic. 

The Austrian daredevil landed safely back on earth in Roswell, New Mexico, several hours ago. He appears to have survived the jump in good health and was in good spirits at the press conference. 

Baumgarter also broke the world record for the highest jump from space, over 23 miles up, at which point he was technically in the stratosphere. He also set records for the longest free-fall (four minutes, 20 seconds) completed without a chute, said officials at the RedBull press conference.  

Read more from GlobalPost: Fearless Felix Baumgartner skydives from 18 miles

Baumgarter has been breaking records since 1999, most recently by flying across the English channel in a suit with a carbon wing attached to it.

National Geographic earlier warned that Baumgartner's blood could boil or the cold (it would be close to 100 degrees below zero), could make his weather balloon explode, among a number of other dangers -- no one knew what the sound barrier will do to his body.

RedBull said the Austrian's family had come from Europe to be present for the New Mexico event. Watch their livefeed here: 

[View the story "Felix Baumgartner's historic jump from the stratosphere" on Storify]