Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Mach 1.24

He did it.

Mach 1.24.

833.9 miles per hour.

This past Sunday, Red Bull Stratos skydiver Felix Baumgartner finally jumped from the edge of space, shattering the record books as he fell almost 24 miles before landing safely back on Earth.

It took him just over two hours for him to rise to a final altitude of 128,100ft, but only 9 minutes and 9 seconds to come down. He spent 4:22 of that time in freefall, accelerating to a top speed of 833.9mph (Mach 1.24 or 1.24 times the speed of sound), the highest speed ever reached by a human body. Fortunately, there were no complications as he broke through the sound barrier.

I wrote about Felix and his mission in a previous post, giving background on his goals, equipment, and safety concerns.

Early into the jump, he began to spin rapidly out of control, but was able to quickly correct this without the drogue, preserving his speed and his chance at the record books.

The date, October 24, was 65 years to the day from when Chuck Yeager first broke the sound barrier in a jet.

In addition to the speed record, Felix also set world records for highest freefall and highest manned balloon flight.

This picture, taken by a remote-controlled camera on the balloon, shows Felix as he prepares to jump. This angle gives some perspective as to how high he really was. Although it looks like he is in space, he is technically still in the Earth's atmosphere. He said that is was hard for him to recognize how fast he was falling because of the lack of scale.

Watch the video here. Be warned, its pretty awesome.

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