This morning history will be made as Felix Baumgartner will undertake a stratospheric balloon flight to more than 120,000 feet to become the first man to break the speed of sound in freefall.
Why 120,000 feet? It’s the edge of the Earth’s atmosphere.
Scientists estimate that after leaping from his balloon-lifted capsule, he’ll travel an estimated 690 miles per hour before deploying his parachute.
According to the Red Bull Stratos team, the goals of the mission are:
- First to Reach Supersonic Speed in Freefall: First person to break the speed of sound and achieve Mach 1 in freefall, estimated 690 mph
- Freefall from Highest Altitude: Expected jump from 120,000 ft,
- Longest Freefall Time: Expected freefall of 5 minutes, 35 seconds or more
- Highest Manned Balloon Flight: Expected ascent to 120,000 ft
Staffed with legion of engineers, scientists, and a community of experts in space and aeronautics, the Red Bull Stratos launch site is located in Roswell, New Mexico, chosen for its predictable weather and wide expanses.
“As a skydiver I have completed 2,500 jumps, so jumping is my business,” says Baumgartner. “The problem is that for around 30 seconds I will have no air cushion whatsoever, meaning that I won’t be able to control the way my body spins. However, in the tests we have done so far I have always been able to stabilize myself pretty quickly as soon as there was enough air to do so.”
During a test jump in March from more than 71,000 feet over New Mexico, the 43 year old Austrian passed through temperatures of minus 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Today’s jump will take him nearly 50,000 feet higher.
Watch the live video here.
– Jay Tilles, CBS Local