Imagine skydiving 17 miles, at 600 mph, in 20 seconds. You can’t, unless you’re an Austrian daredevil named Felix Baumgartner.

According to ABC News, on Wednesday morning, Austrian native Felix Baumgartner launched out of Roswell, N.M. He was lifted in a capsule carried by a giant helium balloon. Roswell, giant helium balloon, what could this mean? Baumgartner has rare skills when it comes to falling out of the sky.

The mission titled “Stratos”, in which the Austrian daredevil leaped from the stratosphere, was financed by Red Bull. The mission took 5 years to plan by a team of experts, in order to break multiple records during one plunge to mother Earth. Baumgartner had planned to break the sound barrier outside of an aircraft, as well as longest freefall time (expected to be 5 minutes and 35 seconds,) highest-manned balloon flight and freefall from the highest altitude. He crazy.

The balloon that propelled Baumgartner into the depths of the universe took 90 minutes to get to 90,000 feet. The crane holding the capsule had to move under the 210-foot tall balloon as it ascended. Baumgartner then took the leap of faith, at which point he began a five minute freefall. His parachute then opened, allowing another seven to ten minutes to reach rock bottom. No pun intended.

The man who first broke the 52-year-old record was legendary retired Air Force Col. Joe Kittinger, who Baumgartner recruited for advise. Good call Felix, good call. Kittinger descended from a balloon at an altitude of 102,900 feet on August 16, 1960. He fell for almost five minutes before opening his parachute to slow his fall to 18,000 feet. His records made history for highest parachute jump, fastest speed by a human through the atmosphere, and highest-balloon ascent.

Talk about getting high. It’s safe to say these guys are the highest of them all.

Krista Blore, 93.1 Jack FM


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