Jumping from a spaceship-like capsule that was taken to 128,100ft (24 miles; 39km) above New Mexico in the US by a giant helium balloon, Felix Baumgartner has become the fastest man ever to leap to earth from the air. His plummet from the edge of space, watched by over 8m people on YouTube, hit Mach 1.24 (around 883mph), comfortably exceeding the speed of sound. Nine minutes later, Baumgartner touched down with a textbook landing.
“It was an incredible up and down today, just like it’s been with the whole project. First we got off with a beautiful launch and then we had a bit of drama with a power supply issue to my visor,” Baumgartner told the world’s press. The malfunctioning visor caused condensation in his helmet and reduced visibility, but the jump proceeded.
“The exit was perfect but then I started spinning slowly. I thought I’d just spin a few times and that would be that, but then I started to speed up. It was really brutal at times. I thought for a few seconds that I’d lose consciousness. I didn’t feel a sonic boom because I was so busy just trying to stabilize myself.”
Read more about the Red Bull Stratos project