Lifestyle & Belief

Felix Baumgartner reached higher speed than thought during skydive from edge of space


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, who skydived from the edge of space — 24 miles up — last October reached a speed of 843.6 miles per hour, faster than previously thought, according to the official numbers.

The speed put him at Mach 1.25, not Mach 1.24 (or 834 miles per hour) as was originally announced, according to ABC News

Baumgartner, who stepped out of a capsule lifted into the stratosphere by a giant helium balloon over New Mexico wearing a pressurized suit, became the first human to break the sound barrier with no mechanical propulsion — traveling at 1.25 the speed of sound, and supersonic for a half-minute.

The jumping off point of 127,852 feet was 248 feet lower than original estimates, according to the Associated Press.

More from GlobalPost: Red Bull's Felix Baumgartner breaks sound barrier with free-fall jump

However, the AP quoted Art Thompson, technical project director for the Red Bull-sponsored project, as saying in a phone interview from his aerospace company in Lancaster, California:

"He jumped from a little bit lower, but he actually went a little bit faster, which was pretty exciting. It's fun for us to see reaching Mach speeds and proving out a lot of the safety systems."

According to Gizmodo, the 43-year-old's heart rate was 185 beats per minute, considered the maximum heart rate that a 35-year-old adult should have while exercising.

The website gave a breakdown of the official data:

  • He started to spin at 60 revolutions per minute and kept spinning like that for 13 seconds (vomit).
  • He jumped from an altitude of 127,852 feet, 248 feet lower than the initial figure but still record-breaking.
  • He experienced 25.2 seconds of absolute weightlessness at the beginning of his free fall.
  • He never exceeded 3.5 G of acceleration for more than six continuous seconds.
  • His skull remained under 2 G at all times, which is within the safe zone.
  • His total freefall time: 4 minutes, 20 seconds.