“Fearless” Felix Baumgartner stepped from his specially made capsule today and fell 18 miles back to Earth in preparation for an even further, death-defying leap to set a world record.
The 43-year-old Austrian BASE jumper landed safely in New Mexico, his website said.
Baumgartner experienced nearly four minutes of free fall and spent more than 10 minutes descending to Earth.
Wearing what looks like a NASA spacesuit, Baumgartner’s capsule reached 96,640 feet above the Earth before he leapt into the atmosphere – what little there was.
“It felt completely different at 90,000 feet,” Baumgartner said, according to The Daily Mail. “There is no control when you exit the capsule. There is no way to get stable.”
He reached speeds of 536 mph.
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A month from now, Baumgartner’s Red Bull Stratos team hopes to skydive from 23 miles (125,000 feet) above the Earth to set the world record.
Capt. Joseph Kittinger, who jumped from 102,800 feet for the US Air Force in 1960, holds the world record.
Jumbo jets reach an altitude of about 40,000 feet.
According to Space.com, Baumgartner will travel more than three hours into the atmosphere to reach the world-record height.
He will travel in a pressurized capsule attached to a helium balloon.
At 23 miles, Baumgartner will jump from the stratosphere where temperatures fluctuate between near freezing to -110 F.
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