A 42-year-old extreme skydiver is setting out to break four records -- one of which has been in place for 50 years -- with a jump from 23 miles up. To put this into perspective, the line between the edge of Earth's atmosphere and space is technically at about 62 miles high.
Felix Baumgartner of Austria, who holds several records for skydiving already, is planning to dive out of a weather balloon because commercial planes won't reach the 121,440-foot altitude on the "edge of space" that he seeks. The Daily Mail reports that Baugartner's descent will take 10 minutes with a top speed of 690 miles per hour.
Here are the records he hopes to break:
- Highest altitude for a freefall -- currently set in 1960 by U.S. Air Force Colonel Joe Kittinger at 102,800 feet
- Highest manned balloon flight
- Longest distance traveled in freefall -- Baumgartner will deploy his parachute at less than 5,000 feet
- Fastest freefall
The Daily Mail reports that Baumgartner, whose endeavor is sponsored by Red Bull, already holds records for lowest parachute jump at 95 feet off Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro; highest jump from a building at 1,479 feet off Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur; and first to skydive across the English Channel.
Watch Baumgartner take the plunge off Christ the Redeemer:
Here Baumgartner skydives across the English Channel:
To prepare for the jump, according to the Daily Mail, Baumgartner will have two practice jumps at 60,000 feet and 90,000 feet wearing a special suit designed to help him withstand up to -70 degrees Celsius.