Sixty-five years to the day after Chuck Yeager became the first man to break the sound barrier in the X-1, Austrian helicopter pilot and parachutist Felix Baumgartner, became the first man to do it without a plane.

After a week of delays due to high winds, the Red bull Stratus program launched a helium filled balloon into the atmosphere, with Baumgartner attached to a pod underneath.

The ascent to over 128,000 feet took over 2 1/2 hours. As the balloon climbed past 65,000 feet, Baumgartner noticed a problem with his helmet’s front screen defroster. It was a big enough problem that it could have ended the mission. After a few minutes of discussion at ground control, it was decided to go ahead with the mission and Felix prepared to disembark the capsule at over 24 miles above the earth. Before he took his giant leap Felix commented, “Sometimes we have to get really high to see how small we are.” With that, he stepped off the capsule and quickly accelerated to over 833 mph. With his heart racing and breathing labored, Felix hurtled toward the earth at Mach 1.24. After four minutes and twenty seconds a freefall, Felix Baumgartner pulled the shoot that a few minutes later delivered him safely to the scrub fields of eastern New Mexico 20 miles east of Roswell.

Felix Baumgartner at Press Conference
Red Bull

With the successful completion of the mission Baumgartner is now the proud owner of several new world records including: Highest manned balloon flight, highest skydive and fastest freefall.

YouTube also set a new record as over 8 million logged onto the site to watch the jump.

Baumgartner's team included Joe Kittinger, who had held the record for highest skydive at 19.5 miles up in 1960, reaching speeds of 614 mph. Kittinger’s record of the longest freefall of four minutes and thirty-six seconds still stands.

 Watch Felix Baumgartner's Jump:




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