For more than four nerve-racking minutes, he was a tiny white speck against a dark sky, hurtling from 24.5 miles above the Earth at up to 834mph.
Then his parachute opened and five minutes later, to the relief of the millions watching, ‘Fearless Felix’ Baumgartner was back on solid ground – having made the highest and fastest skydive in history.
In the process, the 43-year-old Austrian became the first freefall diver to break the sound barrier, and also broke the record for the highest-ever manned balloon ascent.
He made his death-defying jump from a tiny capsule that took him up to the edge of space.
After days of delays due to bad weather, it took the professional daredevil around two-and-a-half hours to reach 128,177ft above the New Mexico desert – and less than ten minutes to plummet down.
He landed on his feet despite moments during the descent that had silenced his mission control as he appeared to lose control and plunge into a head-over-heels spin.
Falling to his knees, he punched the air in triumph as the control room, packed with scientific experts and family including his teary-eyed mother, Eva, erupted into roars of applause.
Speaking afterwards he said: ‘Trust me, when you stand up there on top of the world, you become so humble.
‘It’s not about breaking records any more. It’s not about getting scientific data. The only thing you want is to come back alive.’
During the first part of Baumgartner’s free fall, anxious onlookers at the command centre held their breath as he appeared to spin uncontrollably.
‘When I was spinning the first 10, 20 seconds, I never thought I was going to lose my life but I was disappointed because I’m going to lose my record. I put seven years of my life into this,’ he said.
He added: ‘In that situation, when you spin around, it’s like hell and you don’t know if you can get out of that spin or not. Of course it was terrifying. I was fighting all the way down because I knew that there must be a moment where I can handle it.’
The extreme sportsman has skydived or base-jumped off statues and skyscrapers around the world, but yesterday’s multi-million pound feat – sponsored by energy drink maker Red Bull, who are refusing to reveal how much they contributed to the final cost – was easily the biggest challenge of his career.
Nobody could be quite sure about the physical effects of breaking the sound barrier in freefall, and if Baumgartner’s pressurised spacesuit and helmet had been damaged it could have been catastrophic.
One thought on “Faster than the speed of sound: Supersonic skydiver Fearless Felix hits mach 1.24 in terrifying plummet to Earth from 128,000ft”
The infidels in the West are feeling full of themselves after Felix Baumgartner teamed up with the energy drink company Red Bull to set a world record by skydiving from the edge of space. Like all Muslims, the Islamic theocracy of Iran was completely unimpressed by this feat, and is reportedly in talks with Amp energy drinks to sponsor a virile Muslim man skydiving from the Moon. Unlike the pathetic coward Felix Baumgartner, this Muslim Moon skydiver will not need a sissy spacesuit, but will jump in just his tunic and turban while clutching the holy Qur’an to his chest. Allahu Akbar!