Today in History: Skydiver breaks the sound barrier with 38km jump

On this day in 2012, Austrian daredevil Felix Baumgartner jumped from a capsule attached to a helium balloon approximately 38km above Earth and became the first person to break the sound barrier without the protection or propulsion of a vehicle.

After making his record-setting jump, which was witnessed live by a global audience via cameras mounted on his capsule, the 43-year-old Baumgartner landed safely in the desert near Roswell, New Mexico.

The Austrian’s record-breaking 2012 jump was more than five years in the making and involved a team of engineers, scientists and other aeronautic experts who custom-designed Baumgartner’s equipment, including his pressurised space suit (intended to prevent his blood from boiling at high altitudes) and 1,8m, 1 315kg pressurised capsule. In 2010 the project, which was financed by energy drink company Red Bull, hit a roadblock when Baumgartner started having panic attacks while undergoing endurance tests in his pressurised suit and helmet.

However, a sports psychologist eventually helped him learn to cope with his claustrophobia.

On the morning of 14 October 2012, a 167m-high helium balloon made of 16 hectares of ultra-thin plastic lifted the capsule carrying Baumgartner, nicknamed “Fearless Felix,” from the launch site at Roswell International Air Center. After reaching an altitude of 38 969m, Baumgartner stepped off the capsule and plunged toward Earth.

His descent took nine minutes and 18 seconds – four minutes and 20 seconds of it in a free fall of 36 402m, during which he reached a top speed of 1 356,68 kmp/h, or Mach 1,25. Specially designed cameras positioned inside and outside of his capsule, as well as on the ground, enabled millions of people around the world to watch Baumgartner live online and on television.

At an altitude of 2 566,7m above sea level, he deployed his parachute and went on to land smoothly in the desert.

In addition to breaking the sound barrier, Baumgartner also set a new record for the highest altitude jump. The previous record holder, Joseph Kittinger, skydived from an altitude of 31 333,44m in 1960.

Do you perhaps have more information pertaining to this story? Email us at [email protected] (remember to include your contact details) or phone us on 011 955 1130.

For free daily local news on the West Rand, also visit our sister newspaper websites 

Randfontein Herald

Krugersdorp News 

Get It Joburg West Magazine

Remember to visit our FacebookTwitter and Instagram pages to let your voice be heard!

  AUTHOR
Blake Linder
Journalist

Latest News

COMMENTS

Top

Thanks for your referral. We have no doubt your friends will love our newsletter as much as you!

Don't forget to verify your email.

to our FREE newsletter
SUBSCRIBE to our FREE newsletter.




SELECT your titles:

Krugersdorp News
Randfontein Herald
Roodepoort Record


Get regular news updates sent directly to your inbox.

Your source of local breaking news and trending stories from across the country.

Be a part of our growing community

1MILFacebook Fans
98KTwitter Followers
5MILMonthly Readers
12MILArticles Published Every Month
72Local Community Websites
CLICK HERETo view an example of our newsletter

SUBSCRIBE to our FREE newsletter

SELECT your titles:

Krugersdorp News
Randfontein Herald
Roodepoort Record

Get regular news updates sent directly to you inbox.

Your source of local breaking news and trending stories from across the country.

Be a part of our growing community

Subscribe Here
1MILFacebook Fans
98KTwitter Followers
5MILMonthly Readers
12MILArticles Published Every Month
72Local Community Websites
Your details:


Your friends: