15:44 09 October 2012
Tuesday will bring a trying attempt for Felix Baumgartner, aged 43, from Austria, as he dares to become the first ever human to skydive and break the sound barrier without a vehicle. He will free-fall from a height of 23miles above the surface of the earth from above Roswell in New Mexico.
An ascent for two-and-a-half hours will result in a ten minute descent for the jumper, weather permitting. On average a diver is expected to reach a speed of over 100mph, but Baumgartner is expected to hit a whopping speed of over 700mph, with spectators knowing he has fulfilled his aim when the force of his body creates a sonic boom.
The diver will be kitted out in a specialist suit, including a supply of oxygen, and there is a corrective parachute in case Baumgartner is spun too greatly mid dive according to reports. Two jumps have already been tested at high altitude to ensure the equipment is in working order.
With reference to the practise jumps, Baumgartner told the BBC he felt overwhelmed: “When you're standing there in a pressure suit, the only thing that you hear is yourself breathing, and you can see the curvature of the Earth; you can see the sky's totally black. It's kind of an awkward view because you've never seen a black sky. And at that moment, you realise you've accomplished something really big."
It is understood the jump for the highest, fastest, longest dive has scientific relevance – according to reports –as to date there is no hard data on the effects of the human body reaching a supersonic state.
Although Baumgartner is renowned for jumping off skyscrapers, he is aware of the dangers that face him with this dive. Other attempts at this record have resulted in people losing their lives.
“If something goes wrong, the only thing that might help you is God,” Baumgartner added.
“Because if you run out of luck, if you run out of skills, there is nothing left and you have to really hope he is not going to let you down.”
An American, Joseph Kittinger, holds the current record as he jumped 19.44miles in 1960. A live video feed is thought to be being aired with a documentary expecting to be shown later this year.
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