GoPro has released the full video of daredevil Felix Baumgartner’s successful leap from a capsule more than 24 miles – nearly 39 kilometers – above Earth’s surface on October 14, 2012. It was a new world’s record, one of several Baumgartner broke that day.
Baumgartner fell faster than anyone before, breaking the speed of sound in his plunge, before landing safely back on Earth. He dropped for 4 minutes 19 seconds and reached a maximum speed of 1,137 kilometers per hour (706 miles per hour). He became the first man to break the speed of sound in freefall, reaching an estimated speed of 1357.64 km/h (843.6 mph), or Mach 1.25. The Red Bull Stratos Mission to the Edge of Space, as it was called, culminated when Baumgartner opened his capsule high above Roswell, New Mexico and stepped off a platform. Shortly after landing safely, he attended a press conference in Roswell, where he said:
Trust me, when you stand up there on top of the world, you become so humble. It’s not about breaking records anymore. It’s not about getting scientific data. It’s all about coming home.
The 43-year-old Austrian skydiving expert said the most exciting moment of the jump took place as he stood on the platform, moments before his plunge.
Baumgartner’s jump came 65 years to the day after Chuck Yeager broke the sound barrier at more than 30,000 feet above California’s Mojave Desert. That happened on October 14, 1947. But Baumgartner went supersonic using just his body.
The 43-year-old skydiving expert also broke two other world records (highest freefall, highest manned balloon flight). The record for longest freefall remains with Joe Kittinger, who was a mentor to Baumgartner in this project.
Bottom line: After flying to an altitude of 39,044 meters (128,097 feet) in a helium-filled balloon, Austrian daredevil Felix Baumgartner completed a record-breaking jump from the edge of space on October 14, 2012. In February 2014, GoPro released the full 8-minute video of the event.
Deborah Byrd created the EarthSky radio series in 1991 and founded EarthSky.org in 1994. Today, she serves as Editor-in-Chief of this website. She has won a galaxy of awards from the broadcasting and science communities, including having an asteroid named 3505 Byrd in her honor. A science communicator and educator since 1976, Byrd believes in science as a force for good in the world and a vital tool for the 21st century. "Being an EarthSky editor is like hosting a big global party for cool nature-lovers," she says.