Felix Baumgartner stepped into the void nearly 128,000 feet (39,000 meters) above southeastern New Mexico Sunday at just after 12 p.m. MT (2 p.m. ET, 1800 GMT), then landed safely on the desert floor about 20 minutes later. His harrowing plunge shattered the skydiving altitude record, which had stood for more than 50 years, and it notched a few other firsts as well.
During his freefall, for example, Baumgartner became the first skydiver ever to break the sound barrier, which is about 690 mph (1,110 kph) at such lofty heights. And this happened on a special day — today is the 65th anniversary of the first supersonic airplane flight, which was piloted by American Chuck Yeager in 1947 aboard the Bell X-1 rocket plane.
“I know the whole world is watching now, and I wish the world could see what I see,” Baumgartner said just before the leap. “And sometimes you have to go up really high to see how small you really are.”
Preliminary results of the jump showed Baumgartner spent about 4 minutes and 20 seconds in freefall (a record without a drogue parachute). His maximum speed was 833 mph (1,342.8 kph), said Brian Utley, an air sports official watching over event.
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