Skydiver Breaks Record for Highest Jump

By Vickie Frantz, AccuWeather.com Staff Writer
October 15, 2012; 4:36 AM
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Felix Baumgartner jumped from a height of about 24 miles Sunday Oct. 14, 2012, and became the record holder of the highest jump.

This photograph of Felix Baumgartner and his recovery team after his "Edge of Space" jump Oct. 14, 2012, is courtesy of Red Bull Stratos.

He also broke the record for the highest manned balloon flight. The previous record of 113,740 ft. (about 22 miles) was set in May of 1961, by U.S. Navy Commander Malcolm Ross and Lieutenant Commander Victor Prather. Prather fell from a sling during the helicopter recovery and died after being pulled from the Gulf of Mexico.

Whether Baumgartner was successful in breaking the sound barrier for another record or the record for longest free fall has not been officially determined as of 4 p.m. EDT Sunday.

The event, officially called Red Bull Stratos, was sponsored by Red Bull. The team faced problems in an attempt to complete the record-breaking jump on Monday and Tuesday when unexpected wind gusts deflated the balloon as it was being deployed. A backup balloon was used to complete the jump on Sunday. The balloon was used to carry the 3,000 pound space capsule containing Baumgartner to its peak altitude.

During the jump, Baumgartner reported issues with the faceplate heater in his helmet. The team decided to complete the jump despite the heater issues. It was later determined that the heater was operational.

After completing his free fall and deploying his parachute, Baumgartner floated safely back to Earth and landed on his feet at about 2:17 p.m. EDT.

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