We’ve been following daredevil Felix Baumgartner and his Red Bull Stratos team as they prepare to attempt to break the speed of sound during a skydive from 23 miles above the Earth’s surface. So far, Baumgartner and his team have successfully completed several test skydives from lower altitudes. Today is the day that Baumgartner will attempt to set the record for the highest skydive ever made.
Baumgartner will be carried to 23 miles above the surface of the earth using a massive helium-filled balloon attached to a pressurized capsule. When Baumgartner steps out of his capsule and plummets through the thin atmosphere at 120,000 feet his record setting skydive attempt will begin from higher than anyone else has ever traveled during a manned balloon flight.
It will take Baumgartner approximately two hours to reach 120,000 feet. The special pressure suit that Baumgartner will wear is packed with sensors that will log relevant data allowing the Federation Aeronautique Internationale, the organization that governs air sports in aviation records, to determine whether Baumgartner has set a new record. In addition to the required sensors, the custom pressure suit will protect Baumgartner from the frigid air temperatures and the lack of oxygen.
Baumgartner also has five cameras attached to the suit, a GPS tracking device, a voice transmitter, and receiver allowing him to communicate with the team. Baumgartner will be jumping near Roswell New Mexico with the festivities starting at about 5:30 AM Pacific today. Baumgartner and his team believe that he will need to reach about 690 mph while at high altitude to break the speed of sound.