Man breaks sound barrier

Felix Baumgartner inside the capsule before the jump.
courtesy of Kimberly Benza '13

Felix Baumgartner inside the capsule before the jump. courtesy of Kimberly Benza ’13

 

Baumgartner gears up for his jump from about 24 miles high.
courtesy of Kimberly Benza ’13

On Sunday, November 11, 2012, Felix Baumgartner, an American Daredevil, became the first person in the world to break the sound barrier. He fell from a capsule lifted by a balloon from more than 24 miles high and reached a maximum speed of 834 mph for over four minutes.
Baumgartner broke the record of Joe Kittinger, a retired Air Force colonel. It was Kittinger’s voice that guided him from mission control when problems arose like when Baumgartner’s faceplate fogged up during the fall causing him to jump blindly.
However, Baumgartner faced life-ending risks early in his descent when he began spinning out of control, the same predicament that nearly killed Mr. Kittinger a half-century earlier. The growing thickness of the atmosphere as Baumgartner descended helped him to stop the motion and to eventually land smoothly in the New Mexico desert.
Felix Baumgartner inside the capsule before the jump.
courtesy of Kimberly Benza ’13

“It was harder than I expected,” Mr. Baumgartner said, according to the New York Times. “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. It’s all about coming home.”

Mr. Baumgartner did more than just break the sound barrier and defeat the record of Joe Kittinger. “He demonstrated that a man could survive in an extremely high altitude escape situation. Future astronauts will wear the spacesuit that Felix test-jumped today,” Mr. Kittinger said, according to the New York Times.
 
 
– Allison Davis, Layout Editor
 
New York Times Article: 24 Miles, 4 Minutes and 834 M.P.H., All in One Jump http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/15/us/felix-baumgartner-skydiving.html
Video of Baumgartner’s Jump: http://thelede.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/10/15/video-of-baumgartners-supersonic-freefall/