Watch The Video Of The Space Jump Here: "I'm Going Back Home Now"

He did it! That crazy awesome Felix Baumgartner jumped off the edge of the space, from 127,000 feet of altitude all the way back down to Earth, breaking some world records in the process. Watch as he jumps of the capsule. It's a frightening, adrenaline-fueled, historic moment.

Felix Baumgartner went higher and faster than any man before him. Travelling in a capsule connected to a gigantic helium balloon, he reached more than 127,000 feet up in the sky and then, as if it was the most normal thing in the world but breathing heavily, he jumped.

For a moment, mission control thought about scrapping the mission in mid-flight because of a heating problem on his helmet visor. But at the end it all worked out. With the adrenaline rushing through this body, looking down to Mother Earth 24 miles away, he just went ahead and did it. His last words before taking that step:

If you could see what I could see.
Sometimes you have to be up really high to see how small you are.
I'm going home now.

The visor got foggy, but it didn't matter. He kept his cool and landed safely back in New Mexico, where his mother was waiting, her face full of tears, overwhelmed by such an amazing stunt and having her son back, safely on Earth.

Here's a video recap of the launch, which happened this morning at 11:30am EDT US time.

World records shattered

Felix's daredevil stunt broke some records today.

First, the highest altitude ever achieved by any human in a balloon. The previous record was set by Lieutenant Commander Victor A. Prather Jr. and US Navy Reserve Captain Malcolm D. Ross, who climbed up to 113,740 feet in May 4, 1961. Prather died after returning from that flight, drowning in the Gulf of Mexico: his spacesuit flooded, and he drowned before the Navy could rescue him. Ross survived.

The second record is the highest jump, previously in possession of Felix's mentor, Joe Kittinger. Pratter and Ross didn't jump from their Strato-Lab V capsule. They just came back to Earth. But United States Air Force Captain Joe Kittinger jumped on August 16, 1960 from his Excelsior III capsule at 102,800 feet. Felix has surpassed his master, jumping from more than 127,000 feet from this Stratos capsule.

The third record is for the fastest man on Earth without any kind of mechanical propulsion. The previous speed record belonged to Kittinger too: he reached a maximum speed of 614 miles per hour (988 km/h). We know that Felix has surpassed that speed.

He also probably broke the speed of sound, but this hasn't been confirmed yet. The first human to reach that speed using a plane was the legendary Chuck Yeager: he broke the sound barrier on October 14, 1947, piloting the Bell X-1.

He didn't break Kittinger's record for the longest free fall, however: 4 minutes and 36 seconds. This was because, most probably, Kittinger offered more air resistance than Baumgartner. Felix probably had a lower descent profile and is not as big as Joe.

And on top of all this awesomeness, as he was going down his suit was sending telemetry data that will serve to improve the safety of astronauts in the future.

But beyond the records or the scientific findings, what we have seen today was simply stunning. Kudos to you, Felix. The world is a bit of a better place because of brave people like you. Thank you!


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Here's the balloon expanding as it keeps ascending. The highest altitude of man in a balloon. The balloon keeps to inflate even more, as the pressure outside decreases and the helium particles keep pushing out. It's changing its shape and getting really huge. Like this:


Comments

    Not long now until we get some ODSTs doing this =D

      Just thinking that. Why don't they ditch space shuttles and just do this to get people back from the ISS? :P

        I don't know about that, but why arn't we supplying ISS in this manner? I know payload is smaller, but it got to be cheaper then burning all that fuel getting off the ground?

        Attach some manuvaring trusters for a last push in to space.

        Curious as to what happened to a baloon itself, did it come down?

          Getting into orbit isn't just about the height off the ground, but also picking up enough speed that you don't fall back down again, which is what a lot of the energy of a normal launch is used for. This thing couldn't even lift the fuel needed to gain that extra speed, let alone a payload on top of that.

          A rocket that merely went up to the height this balloon reached then fell back down again could actually be quite small compared to the ones that go into orbit.

        Burn up on re-entry is a real bummer.

    While this is pretty awesome, I do wish that everyone would stop saying he jumped from the edge of space, as 37km isn't even half way to the edge

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Outer_space#Boundary
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/K%C3%A1rm%C3%A1n_line

      While you are technically correct (the best kind of correct), when you see the images from 39km up and you can see the Earth curving away and the black of space above it you cant really fault them for calling it the edge of space. Considering that there is so little in the way of atmosphere at that altitude and the fact that it would boil your blood in the near vacuum I think its close enuf.

      Well, being as space is actually a fair way up (technically, as you say), the "edge" is actually fairly broad and not exactly a clearly defined knife edge as it were.
      The "edge" in cases like these can be viewed as anywhere between the life supporting realm of normal atmospherics and the sheer vacuum of space. This is a pretty large boundary with somewhat fuzzy "edges".
      What you have referred to is the boundary between this fuzzy area of thinning atmosphere and actual space. So, yeah you're technically right, but in human terms that "edge" is still a pretty fat band.
      All in all though, I do agree that this is really more of an extreme high skydive rather than a jump from space.

    Felix Bumgardener, we salute you.

      Even if we can't spell your name right despite it being right there in the article. :p

        I'm not saying it was funny, but surely you can discern the difference between a joke and a spelling mistake.

          It was pretty funny

    Watched it live. INCREDIBLE! Felix definitely has The Right Stuff.

      Yeah it was pretty amazing to watch it live! I kept thinking "I really need to head to bed" but just couldn't bring myself to do it. Coffee is my friend today :P

    I remember watching a show on 'Discovery" I think, about Joe Kittinger, apparently he had a leak in his suit. From memory, when he landed his eyes were completely bloodshot and his hands were swollen so badly that he could barely use them properly.

    127,000 feet ..I thought this was .com.au

      too lazy to use a calculator?

        yes because that's the point isn't it. How about we talk in fathoms as well? Or fractions of an Astronomical Unit? What, too lazy to use a calculator?

        Not even a calculator, just mentally divide by three.

          Feet is still a recognised aviation method of measurement so its technically correct as well...

          Whilst your method may be a good approximation for shorter distances as 1 foot = 0.3048 metres, an even better quick approximation would be to triple the number and move the decimal place one to the left. Your method yields 42333 1/3 metres as result whereas this method yields 38 100 metres which is far closer to the actual metric distance of 38 709.6 metres.

      you seem to have forgoten that, while it says .com.au, most articals come from the US site.

        some of the articles too......

        I suppose 'artical' is a U.S. convention as well.

      World standard for anything aviation related is feet and miles (Nautical miles but still) except in Russia, that's metres. Just saying

    I see future career as a an ODST in this man's future.

    What interests me is the design of the parachute he would have used. Firstly, it has to not be shredded when he opens it at that speed, and secondly, how it slows him down enough not to send his brain down to his feet when it does open!!

      He slows down before we deploys it, as the air gets thicker = air brake like a normal jump

    What I want to know is what does the big red button do...

    Does anyone know if he broke all three records that he wanted? I heard that he might not have broken the longest freefall record

      As far as I'm aware, he didn't break the longest (time) freefall record because he was going too fast. The details are in the article under "World records shattered"

      i think he missed out on the longest freefall record

      Dude, read the article :/

        Oh blarg no I should! :P

        Thought I saw it in the article, but it must have been somewhere else that I saw that he didn't break the longest (time) freefall record. The other records are in the article though.

          "He didn’t break Kittinger’s record for the longest free fall, however: 4 minutes and 36 seconds. This was because, most probably, Kittinger offered more air resistance than Baumgartner. Felix probably had a lower descent profile and is not as big as Joe." - From the article. So don't worry, you're not going crazy!

    Thank you for wasting 85 million litres of scarce helium, asshole. It would have been less wasteful to go by rocket.

      When you are jumping from your ship in orbit down to the mars base you are visiting then you will be grateful that this guy wasted a bunch of helium.

      Last edited 15/10/12 1:55 pm

      85,000 litres actually.

      Most certainly less of a waste than the oxygen you a depriving the world of.

        According to the Red Bull Stratos website, it's 30 million cubic feet of helium, which is approximately 85 million litres (source - http://www.redbullstratos.com/technology/high-altitude-balloon/)

          It actually was 85 000L of Helium. The size of the balloon was primarily for expansion purposes. As the outside air pressure lessens, the balloon needs to stretch or it'll pop as the helium gas expands to take advantage of the lowered pressure.

          My apologies, we're each ALMOST correct.

          In an attempt to make up for the oxygen I just wasted, based on 1 cubic ft=28.316L the conversion for 30M cubic feet would actually be 849,505,398L

          Can't imagine why it'd be different for Helium though, my chemistry is very rusty.

        Even still, I'm sure that whatever huge amount of helium wasted in this achievement could have saved more lives in MRI machines (when the world's Helium supply runs out) than humans saved from the Oxygen that I have deprived the world of.

        An average human uses approximately 19 million litres of oxygen in a lifetime.

        An average MRI machine uses 1700 litres of Helium every 3-4 years.

        I think that 150-200 years worth of MRI scans would have more lives, than the oxygen I have used - which would only offset ONE other human who would have also use the same amount of oxygen as me.

        (150-200 years is assuming 85000L helium was used @ 0.1% density in the 85,000,000L Balloon, which by the way I think is highly unlikely that the density would expand by 100,000%, otherwise I would say that it would be 150,000-200,000 years worth of MRI @ 100% density)

      Ha, I was thinking that when I saw the size of that balloon!

    Better than 85 million helium filled party balloons

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