Skydiver aims to break sound barrier in jump from ‘edge of space’
Update (below): Record-setting skydive delayed until Wednesday
Skydiver Felix Bumgartner is scheduled to attempt something on Tuesday that’s never been tried before: he hopes to break the sound barrier without the aid of a vehicle.
In what’s being billed as a freefall from “the edge of space,” Bumgartner will exit a specially designed capsule after it reaches about 23 miles up, some 120,000 feet high, then freefall at nearly 700 miles per hour before deploying his parachute.
The ride up is expected to take more than two hours, but at those speeds on the descent, he should be back on the ground in about 20 minutes. The jump is going to be broadcast live, as well: event sponsor Red Bull has set up a website with streaming video via YouTube. Even Bumgartner’s suit has cameras on it.
The launch was originally scheduled to take place Monday morning, but had to be delayed due to weather. Another short delay the next morning pushed the launch window back several hours, but the team still hopes to launch Tuesday.
“Of course I’m afraid of dying, because I worked so hard to reach this level,” Bumgartner told CNN, reflecting on five years of training that led to this point. “You know, I’m living a good life. I think the most important thing I’m doing is to come back alive.”
The prior record for highest skydive is held by Col. Joe Kittinger, who jumped from more than 102,000 feet in 1960.
Update: Record-setting skydive delayed until Wednesday
With just one minute to go before launch, Bumgartner’s mission controllers decided to postpone the record-setting skydive for one more day due to unpredictable wind speeds.
This video is from CNN, broadcast Tuesday, October 9, 2012.
Photo: Courtesy, Red Bull Stratos.