Oct 14, 2012 No Comments ›› Chuck Biscuits
CBS News: An extreme athlete who hopes to become the first skydiver to break the sound barrier has been launched, being carried by a balloon designed to lift him to an altitude of 23 miles.
Felix Baumgartner donned a high-tech pressurized suit and boarded a 3,000-pound capsule that was lifted by the balloon near Roswell, N.M. at 11:30 a.m. ET.
The former Austrian paratrooper’s jump was postponed twice last week because of high winds.
It will take three hours for the 30 million cubic foot balloon to ascend into the stratosphere.
If successful, “Fearless Felix” will break a 52-year-old altitude record by Joe Kittinger, who jumped from 19.5 miles and reached a speed of 614 mph, just under the sound barrier.
This attempt will hopefully be the end of a five-year road for Baumgartner, a record-setting high-altitude jumper. He already made two preparation jumps in the area, one in March from 15 miles high and on in July from 18 miles high. It will also be the end of his extreme altitude jumping career; he has promised this will be his final jump.
Coincidentally, Sunday also marks the 65th anniversary of U.S. test pilot Chuck Yeager successful attempt to become the first man to officially break the sound barrier aboard an airplane.
Baumgartner plans to travel faster than the speed of sound with only the benefit of a high-tech suit.