Sometime this year, Austrian skydiver Felix Baumgartner plans to do what no human has done before - free fall from the edge of Space - 23 miles (120,000 ft.) above the surface of earth. On Thursday March 15th, the daredevil came one step closer to fulfilling his dream with a successful test dive, from a height of 13.6 miles (71,581 ft.).
Transported by a 100ft. helium balloon, the skydiver lifted off from Roswell, New Mexico in his special pressurized capsule in the wee hours of the morning. Once he got to the pre-arranged height, he jumped off, free falling for a full three minutes and 43 seconds at speeds of up to 364.4 km, before pulling out his parachute cords and gliding down smoothly. His journey down took a mere eight minutes and 8 seconds. This was the first time the helium balloon, capsule, parachute and all other systems had been put to test in a real-life situation.
Following this successful leap, 'Fearless Felix' becomes one of only three people to ever jump from such a high altitude and, land safely. He is also the first person to do so in the last fifty years. The adventurer who was thrilled by the successful dive, said that the views from Space were much better than he had ever imagined!
Mr. Baumgartner will perform one more test run, this time from 90,000 feet. If everything goes according to plan, his ultimate leap from 120,000 feet will take place sometime between July and October of this year - So stay tuned!