I’m a few days late writing about this, but as you will almost certainly have heard, history was made on Sunday when Austrian Felix Baumgartner jumped from a balloon 24 miles above the earth. This was the highest skydive in history and the first skydive to reach a sufficient speed to break the sound barrier. Baumgartner reached a maximium speed of an astonishing 833.9mph. He broke records for highest skydive and fastest speed held by Colonel Joe Kittinger of the US Air Force since 1960 – though Kittinger still holds the record for the longest period in freefall.
I was pleasantly surprised to see the degree of public interest in the jump. It broke Youtube viewing records for live streaming and was a lead story in many newspapers. It’s really caught the public imagination. It’s not hard to see why. Can you imagine the courage it must have taken to jump from so high up you can see the curvature of the earth, with nothing but a parachute between you and a long fall to certain death? Even with all the technology at his disposal (an oxygen supply, pressurised capsule for the ascent and pressurised suit for the jump were all essential) that still takes enormous guts.
Congratulations to you, Felix!