I don’t usually pay attention to stunts like this, but something about the Stratos mission caught my interest. In spite of the corporate promotion and dare-devil sensationalism, there was something magnificent about watching a man jump from a tiny capsule >127,000 ft above the earth, reach a speed of ~800 mph, and land on his feet. We watched this stunt live on the internet and the moment his feet left the capsule platform, my stomach dropped. The descent was not without issues. Though it was hard to make out his words, it sounded like he said he was feeling like he might lose consciousnesses at one point and for a short time he began spinning uncontrollably. Spectators had been warned that things could go badly if he began spinning as he fell. Luckily, he recovered his control and was able to finish the fall successfully. In the process, Felix Baumgartner set a few records – the most exciting of which has still yet to be confirmed. He set out to break the sounds barrier, which means he had to travel faster than 768mph. The preliminary data suggest he traveled at >800 mph, so it seems he may have done it. Felix commented that he did not hear the sonic boom that is supposed to accompany breaking the sound barrier, but that this was probably because he was focusing most on controlling his body position in the face of extremely intense sights, sounds, feelings, etc… If you did not watch his jump yet, you can find it below. It is incredible!
Update: This is the video from HIS HEAD CAM! So scary and awesome!