Felix Baumgartner: Daredevil's Supersonic Leap Breaks Three Records

Baumgartner made a record breaking leap from the edge of space.

Oct. 14, 2012 — -- Daredevil Felix Baumgartner shattered the speed of sound and broke three records today after he took a leap from 24 miles above the Earth on the edge of space.

At one point during his freefall, the 43-year-old Austrian was traveling at 833 mph or Mach 1.24, a feat that normally could only be accomplished by a supersonic jet, or perhaps the space shuttle.

"It is hard to describe [breaking the speed of sound] because I didn't feel it," Baumgartner said after the jump. "When you're in a dead pressure suit [and without reference points] you don't feel anything."

Aside from being the only man to achieve a supersonic skydive, the extreme athlete also broke two other records, including the highest exit from a platform at 128,000 feet and the highest free-fall without a drogue parachute, which was measured at 119,846 feet.

The nerves-of-steel Baumgartner said he felt he was in trouble at one point during his 4 minute, 20 second freefall when his visor began to fog up. He also then went into a spin.

"It's hard to tell what happened because I have to look at the video footage. ... Somehow I started spinning... It felt like a flat spin," Baumgartner said, adding that he felt a lot of pressure in his head during the fall.

He soon regained his vertical velocity and was able to pull his parachute, landing approximately nine minutes after millions tuned in online, and held their breath, as he made history.

Despite the momentous day, there was one record Baumgartner didn't shatter -- the longest elapsed freefall record.

Fifty-two years later, the 4 minute and 36 second record still belongs to Joe Kittinger. The 84-year-old former airforce pilot served as a mentor to Baumgartner and was in contact with him during the jump today.

"Better champions cannot be found. ... He did a fantastic job today," Kittinger said. "[And] I'd like to give a special one finger salute to all the folks who said he was going to come apart when he went supersonic."

Baumgartner's feat came on the 65th anniversary of legendary pilot Chuck Yeager breaking the sound barrier.

This morning, the daredevil traveled in a capsule hooked to a balloon. Baumgartner wore a special suit to protect him from the low atmospheric pressure. Without it, his lungs would have burst and his blood would have boiled.

Threats of extreme cold, extreme temperature fluctuations and the possibility of an uncontrolled flat spin, which could hit 220 rpm, were all potential dangers of the stunt.

Baumgartner said he didn't only do the stunt to set a record. He's also did it for science, as the jump could help NASA design better and stronger spacesuits for astronauts.

Doctors said the data from Baumgartner's jump will "break new ground."

When asked what he would do next, Baumgartner said he'd like to be sitting in his mentor's chair.

"Honestly I want to inspire the next generation," he said. "I would love if there was a young guy sitting next to me asking what my advice is, wanting to break my record."