Picture of the Day: The 97,000 ft Liftoff
THE 97,000 ft LIFTOFF
On July 25 2012, Felix Baumgartner completed the final milestone remaining before he attempts to achieve his dream of becoming the first person to break the speed of sound in freefall. According to preliminary data, his test jump from a 5.3 million cubic-foot / 150,079 cubic-meter balloon achieved an altitude of over 97,145.7 feet / 29,610 meters, seeing Baumgartner execute a 3 minute, 48 second freefall jump reaching speeds of 536.8 mph / 864 kmh.
Baumgartner landed in a desert area of the U.S. state of New Mexico, just about 15 minutes by helicopter from his launch site at Roswell International Air Center. The test launch was twice delayed due to thunderstorms, wind and rain.
The balloon for Baumgartner’s final ascent will rise as tall as a skyscraper – requiring surface winds of no more than 2 miles / 3.2 kilometers per hour to avoid endangering its delicate plastic envelope. The date for the record jump is now subject to favorable weather conditions and critical post-jump assessments of the capsule and equipment. It is tentatively scheduled for Monday October 8, 2012 @ 8am ET.
Pending official data review and confirmation, the leap from over 97,145.7 feet / 29,610 meters takes Baumgartner past Russia’s Yevgeny Andreyev (83,523 feet / 25,458 meters) to make him only the second man to have successfully completed a jump from such an altitude. His planned freefall from 120,000 feet / 36,576 meters would finally break the record of 102,800 feet set 52 years ago by the only man who has jumped from a higher altitude, Baumgartner’s mentor Joe Kittinger.