It finally happened this morning. Felix Baumgartner landed on his feet (literally) after falling for 24 miles (128,100 ft) and suddenly, little boys named Felix suddenly felt very different about being named Felix.
Baumgartner and Red Bull Stratos broke several records today, but did miss breaking the length of free fall record when he was forced to pull the chute a little early because his visor was fogging up. But he did break the sound barrier, reaching speeds of 833mph or Mach1.24, which was faster than anticipated. There were a few hitches. First that visor issue was almost enough to scrap the jump, but they decided to continue. He also did go into a “flat spin” as he was coming out the sound barrier. This was a concern because it is so violent it can cause a blackout. He was able to stabilize himself and the free fall and finally pulled his chute and landed about 40 miles away from where he started. It should also be mentioned that today historic achievement came on the anniversary, of October 14th, 1947, when Chuck Yeager broke the sound barrier in his Bell X-1 rocket plane.
Watching this live on TV was just about the single most thrilling, scary thing I’ve ever witnessed. Considering NASA is mostly out of the “sending humans to space” business and the fact that in my adult life I’ve not witnessed any such feat it was something I will never forget. In those moments when he was past the sound barrier, audible breathing is all you could hear and all you could see what a tiny white image on a background – head down, legs up. Amazing and moving all at the same time.
(the above image is an outstanding animated gif, click on it to see it animated, for some reason I can’t get it to do it with the story)
It’s been reported that over 8 million people tuned into the YouTube live stream.
There is an amazing amount of great coverage, here’s link to a Google News Feed.
Here is footage of the jump from minutes before he leaves the capsule… I suspect this will get pulled. If it does I will find another, probably better version…
Here is an official collection of highlights of the jump from Red Bull
Here is the
helmet chest pack cam video as shown on Austrian TV last night… This may get pulled.