We already know about aircraft that travel at supersonic speeds. That’s mind-boggling on its own. But what about a human doing the same? You know, without the plane! One man flew faster than the speed of sound while freefalling 120,000 feet from space. Was it Superman? Well, close but not exactly.
Felix Baumgartner is an Austrian Skydiver and a bit of a daredevil. Ever since he was little, he loved heights, and his life-long dream was to become a skydiver. He began working on his goal at the age of 16. His achievements started getting more and more thrilling. He was the first person in the whole world to Cross the English Channel with a pair of carbon wings, and the first person to fly next to an airplane.
- By 1988, Felix started doing skydiving exhibitions for the well-known company. Even though his job as a skydiver was filled with adrenaline and excitement, it got tiring for Felix at some point.
- In 1999, he achieved his first record for the lowest BASE jump. He leaped from the Hand of the “Christ the Redeemer” statue in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
- Felix transformed from a regular sky-diver into a daredevil. He would parachute from different fixed objects all the way down to the ground.
- His most mind-boggling achievement came with the Red Bull Stratos Project on October 14th, 2012. When Felix was 43 years old, he made his life-long dream come to life.
- Back in the day, there was another legendary man named Joseph Kittinger. He was an Air Force Command Pilot, and in the 1960s he performed the highest dive in history.
- The speed of sound is calculated by a Mach Number. When something approaches the speed of sound, they get close to the Mach number 1.
- Baumgartner’s team put together an advanced capsule that would operate as Felix’s controlled climate during his ascent to 120,000ft.
- His suit was specifically coated to keep his body protected. Since the whole mission was going to be recorded, he was equipped with cameras on both his legs and his helmet.
- After extensive training, the record-breaking day had arrived. It was October 14th, 2012.
- Baumgartner climbed to 128,100 feet with the high-tech balloon. The sliding doors of the capsule opened, and his most thrilling and terrifying experience began.
- As he was falling, his speed was accelerating, and so was his heartrate. He could see the earth’s curve. He was both amazed and terrified.
- The moment he reached his maximum velocity, he slowed down. He was in a free fall for 4 minutes and 20 seconds before deploying his parachute at 8,200 ft.
- His mission was a success, despite the minor difficulties. His excitement for the supersonic fall that broke all the records was indescribable.