Yesterday, Austrian extreme athlete Felix Baumgartner became the world’s first supersonic skydiver. From an altitude of 24 miles above the Earth, he jumped from a balloon hoisted capsule, and as he fell, he hit Mach 1.24 (833.9 mph to be exact), breaking the speed of sound. Tuned in via the world wide web were over 8 million live feed viewers, collectively cheering a sigh of relief as the stuntman deployed his parachute after a free fall of over 4 minutes, landing in Roswell, New Mexico. The carefully orchestrated event capped a 5-year pursuit by Baumgartner and the rest of his Red Bull Stratos team to defy the boundaries of human logic, the human body, and unite around a scientific cause which may undoubtedly pave the way for a revival in space exploration and travel. The venture, named after the beverage company which privately financed it, was overseen by a NASA-like team of over 300, including 70 engineers and scientists. Red Bull has kept mum on the cost of the ambitious endeavor. The jump also marks the end of the skydiving career of the 43-year old Baumgartner, who in addition to breaking 3 records on yesterdays jump, holds a number of other BASE jumping and skydiving records. Highlight from his career can be seen below.
Baumgartner has previously, with the sponsorship of Red Bull, BASE jumped from the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur, Rio de Janeiro’s Christ the Redeemer statue, Taiwan’s Taipei 101 building, and “flown” across the English Channel with a man-made wing suit.