Yesterday Felix Baumgartner flew approximately 39 kilometres into the stratosphere over New Mexico in a helium balloon before free falling and then parachuting to Earth.
Reaching 1342 km/h (Mach 1.24) Baumgartner broke the sound barrier on his descent, thus possibly becoming the first human to do so without vehicular power. Baumgartner's claims are still however subject to verification by the FAI, which takes time. Baumgartner also attempted to break three other world recordsthe highest manned balloon flight, the highest altitude jump, and the longest time in free fall. The free fall was initially expected to last between five and six minutes, it ended after 4:19 when Baumgartner deployed his parachute.
The total jump (until contact was made with the ground) lasted approximately ten minutes. Retired USAF Colonel Joseph Kittinger, unofficial holder of three of the records from his 19591960 Project Excelsior jumps, was Baumgartner's mentor and primary contact at mission control during the ascent and jump. Baumgartner also broke the unofficial record for highest manned balloon flight (123,500 feet) set by Nick Piantanida.
The proposed launch on 9 October 2012 was delayed and then postponed to a later date due to weather. The launch occurred at 09:30 MDT (15:30 UTC) on 14 October 2012. Baumgartner touched down at 12:17 MDT (18:17 UTC).