December 19 2013 Latest news:
Felix Baumgartner, right, of Austria, shares a laugh with Col. Joe Kittinger, USAF retired, after successfully jumping from a space capsule lifted by a helium balloon at a height of just over 128,000 feet above the Earth's surface, beating Kittinger's old record of 102,799 ft., Sunday, Oct. 14, 2012, in Roswell, N.M. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
Monday, October 15, 2012
“The whole world is watching.”
As he stood more than 24 miles in the air, preparing to make the jump of a ifetime, Felix Baumgaertner perfectly summed up the impact his death-defying jump had on the world.
Millions of people stopped what they were doing to watch as the daredevil skydiver shattered the sound barrier while making the highest jump ever - a tumbling, death-defying plunge from a balloon to a safe landing in the New Mexico desert.
And this was as true in Norfolk and Suffolk, as it was everywhere else, where hundreds took to twitter to express their amazement and horror at what was unfolding before their very eyes.
Baumgartner hit Mach 1.24, or 833.9mph (1,342kph) yesterday, according to preliminary data, and became the first man to reach supersonic speed without travelling in a jet or a spacecraft after hopping out of a capsule which had reached an altitude of 128,100ft (39,045m) above the Earth.
Can’t imagine having the entire earth under your feet. Incredible #felix #livejump
Jumping from 128,000 ft!?! You wouldn’t get me to jump from 10ft!! #redbullstratos #felix xx
That was an absolutely amazing 24 mile high jump from space by Felix! #livejump
@Rachel_deSouza you can breath again now! Parachute has worked and his mummy is smiling! #livejump
I feel sick. #livejump
He’s ACTUALLY going to jump very soon!! So nervewracking to watch.. #edgeofsofa watching Felix in #edgeofspace #livejump
He can get to the edge of space quicker than I can get from Norfolk to London. #livejump
#livejump @redbullstratos watching and waiting. Good luck!!
24 mile jump and he landed on his feet. Cats always land on their feet #Felix
Felix Baumgartner. The most extraordinary TV drama since the Chilean miners. Puts X Factor idiots in their place.
Landing on his feet in the desert, the man known as “Fearless Felix” lifted his arms in victory to the cheers of jubilant friends and spectators who closely followed his descent in a live television feed at the command centre.
“When I was standing there on top of the world, you become so humble, you do not think about breaking records anymore, you do not think about gaining scientific data,” he said after the jump. “The only thing you want is to come back alive.”
A worldwide audience watched live on the internet via cameras mounted on his capsule as Baumgartner, wearing a pressurised suit, stood in the doorway of his capsule, gave a thumbs-up and leapt into the stratosphere.
“Sometimes we have to get really high to see how small we are,” an exuberant Baumgartner told reporters outside mission control after the jump.
Baumgartner’s descent lasted just over nine minutes, about half of it in a free fall of 119,846ft (36,530m), according to Brian Utley, a jump observer from the FAI, an international group which works to determine and maintain the integrity of aviation records. He said the speed calculations were preliminary figures.
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.”
Baumgartner said travelling faster than sound is “hard to describe because you don’t feel it”. The pressurised suit prevented him from feeling the rushing air or even the loud noise he made when breaking the sound barrier.
With no reference points, “you don’t know how fast you travel”, he said.
As Baumgartner ascended, so did the number of viewers watching on YouTube; company officials said the event broke a site record with more than 8 million simultaneous live streams at its peak.
After Baumgartner landed, his sponsor, Red Bull, posted a picture of him on his knees on the ground to Facebook, generating nearly 216,000 likes, 10,000 comments and more than 29,000 shares in less than 40 minutes.
SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE JUMP - Leave your comments below and some of the best will be used in tomorrow’s paper.