ustrian daredevil Felix Baumgartner stepped onto the edge of a specially rigged space capsule on Sunday, stared at the ground 24 miles below, and bravely leaped into the history books. The supersonic dive, broadcast live worldwide as part of the Red Bull Stratos mission, clinched multiple world records for the 43-year-old pilot. He became the first skydiver to break the sound barrier, completed the highest-altitude skydive in history, the longest freefall without a parachute, and the fastest speed ever achieved during a skydive. (Watch highlights below.) A brief look at Baumgartner's historic jump, by the numbers:
Altitude, in feet, from which Baumgartner jumped. That's 24 miles above the ground, and "four times higher than most passenger jets fly," says Ryan Owens at ABC News.
Hours he spent ascending through the atmosphere
10 to 20
Seconds Baumgartner spent spinning out of control when he first jumped out of the capsule. "At a certain R.P.M.," said Baumgartner, "there's only one way for blood to leave your body, and that's through your eyeballs. That means you're dead. That was what we feared the most." Luckily, he was able to gain control over his body once the atmosphere thickened.
Seconds that Baumgartner spent free-falling through space before deploying his parachute
The sound barrier, in miles per hour
The world-record speed, in miles per hour, that Baumgartner hit while falling (Mach 1.24)
Feet Baumgartner plummeted before deploying his parachute — also a world record
People who worked on the Red Bull Stratos mission, including 70 engineers, scientists, and physicians
Years of planning before the Red Bull Stratos finally happened
Cameras used to record the stunt
Television stations, including the Discovery Channel, that showed the jump live
People who tuned in to watch the jump online, easily crushing the 500,000 YouTube livestream record set by the London Summer Olympics
Minutes that passed from the time Baumgartner jumped to the moment he raised to raise his fist victoriously while standing on solid ground. "Soon he was hugged by his mother and father," says Zelle Pollon at Reuters. "And his girlfriend jumped up and wrapped her legs around him."
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- The sexual politics of Game of Thrones just got enormously worse
- 31 TV shows to watch in 2014
- He said he was leaving. She ignored him.
- The hidden reason for the student loan crisis
- 14 wonderful words with no English equivalent
- Why atheism doesn't have the upper hand over religion
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- Wounded in Boston, two brothers endure
- The Democrats have a mega-donor problem
- Entrepreneurs: A dying breed?
Subscribe to the Week