Perhaps it’s fate that delays pushed the jump to the same day that Chuck Yeager broke the sound barrier 65 years ago in the experimental X1. After spending over two and a half hours climbing to 128,097 feet, Baumbartner reached 706mph in around half a minute, racing from the heavens to the ground in just over 9 minutes. I am no longer impressed with your quarter mile times.
Former Air Force Colonel Joseph Kittinger was the previous record holder for the highest jump, fastest free fall, and remains the record holder for longest free fall. At Baumgartner’s request, Kittinger sat in mission control as his sole conduit of communication. Kittinger, 84, must have had some mixed feelings. You could see he was absolutely thrilled with everything that went on today, although in a private place me must feel some small bit of satisfaction that at least one of his records, the longest free fall, was not broken.
The ascent went on with little drama until Baumgartner announced “I have a real problem.” The heater in his helmet seemed to be malfunctioning. Although the suit would protect him from the outside elements, the heater is essential in ensuring he can see out of his visor. During the final checklist Kittinger let slip that they had already tried cranking the heat up to maximum and after a brief audio dump asked Baumgartner to adjust the heat to full as per protocol.
The last big of excitment came as Baumgartner was preparing to exit the capsule. The radio conked out and he seemed to just be going through the motions and gave the thumbs up as the tension reached a perfect climax after two and a half hours of climbing. The radio came back just in time for him to give a little speech (I hope we get a transcript of that since it was a bit hard to understand). Finally jumping off seemed the issue of least concern as he stepped off with an ease I don’t find when I get out of bed in the morning.
Baumgartner jumped to the earth from the edge of space, broke the sound barrier along with a grand slam of records, and lived to tell about it. It was a hell of a thing to watch.
Altitude: 128,097 ft
Duration of freefall: 4:19
Total jump time: 9:03
Speed: 1137 kmh (706.5 mph)
(expected was 690mph, jumping from 120,000 ft)
[conflicting reports indicate 833.9 mph / 1,342.8 km/h (Mach 1.24)]
[indicating Mach 1 would have been 672.5mph / 1,083km/h]
The speed of sound varies by medium and conditions, especially temperature and pressure.
Read more at wikipedia
Highest Balloon Flight
First Human to Break the Sound Barrier
Unfortunately Baumgartner missed the record for longest free fall. My guess is because his visor was fogging up do to a helmet heating failure and he was playing it safe, deploying the parachute before visibility became too severe an issue.
If you missed it, the actual jump is at about 3:55 here http://www.ctvnews.ca/video?playlistId=1.995118
I’m sure better sources for the video will be available soon, but this looks like the first one to pop up.
There will be a 2 hour documentary in November.
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Various news outlets mostly posted the same article. Washington Post has a nice play by play http://sdmblg.us/RYpc69