Red Bull Daredevil Felix Baumgartner Completes Stratos Mission [PHOTOS/VIDEO]
On the 65th anniversary of legendary pilot Chuck Yeager's sound barrier shattering flight in 1947, Austrian skydiver and certifiably mad Red Bull Daredevil Felix Baumgartner rode to the edge of space Sunday afternoon and made history by plummeting from a height of 127,000 feet (nearly 24 miles up) with nothing but a pressurized suit and parachute to slow his descent.
A giant helium balloon tethered to a custom space capsule brought Felix to the record setting height, where after a series of NASA-like checks and double-checks... and just the right amount of drama (mostly when Felix would forgot to confirm commands), he moved warily to the open window of the cockpit. After a few more checks with Mission Control in Rosewell, NM, he edged himself out and promptly took the step into the stratosphere with the obligatory derring-do, free-falling over four minutes back to earth.
With this event Baumgartner not only has broken the record for highest sky-dive, but he broke the record for the highest manned balloon flight, and he achieved the fastest ever freefall speed at 833mph during the four minutes and 19 second experiment, but he did not set a new record for the longest freefall.
The previous record was held by Colonel Joe Kittinger, who jumped at an altitude of 102,800ft (31,333m) in 1960.
After being delayed nearly a week, the jump (or Skyfall as I like to call it) the mission only encountered one minor glitch: as a heater on his helmet faceplate failed. The problem became apparent after Felix mentioned that his visor was fogging up when he exhaled. But after considering the options it was decided to go ahead with the jump. The video below shows the jump from the moment the capsule door is opened. You can also look at a stunning series of photos leading up the stunt below the vid.