October 14, 2012

HIGHEST EVER JUMP SUCCESSFUL: “Extreme athlete Felix Baumgartner landed safely on Earth after a 24-mile jump from the stratosphere in a dramatic, daring feat that may also have marked the world’s first supersonic skydive.,” AP reports. “Baumgartner came down in the eastern New Mexico desert minutes after jumping from his capsule 128,097 feet, or roughly 24 miles, above Earth.”

The BBC adds:

The previous highest, farthest, and longest freefall was made by retired US Air Force Col Joe Kittinger, who leapt from a helium envelope in 1960. His altitude was 102,800ft (31.3km).

Mr Kittinger, now an octogenarian, was on hand to witness the dramatic jump from the stratosphere. Indeed, he acted as “Capcom” – capsule communicator – throughout the ascent and descent, maintaining voice contact with the much younger man.

None of the new marks set by Baumgartner can be classed as “official” until approved by the Federation Aeronautique Internationale (FAI).

UPDATE: The first draft of the AP article quoted above had the altitude wrong; they’ve since corrected the figure, and I inserted the new lede above.

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