Parachutist Jumps From 18 Miles Up
'Fearless Felix' Baumgartner well on his way to 23-mile jump
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 25, 2012 11:33 AM CDT
In this Thursday, March 15, 2012 photo provided by Red Bull Stratos, Felix Baumgartner prepares to jump during the first manned test flight for Red Bull Stratos over Roswell, NM.   (AP Photo/Red Bull Stratos, Jay Nemeth)

(Newser) – Skydiver "Fearless Felix" Baumgartner is working his way up to a record-breaking jump from 23 miles up, and today he jumped from a height of more than 18 miles. His altitude was an estimated 96,640 feet—almost three times more than the cruising altitude for planes, the AP notes. The 43-year-old Austrian daredevil landed safely near Roswell, New Mexico, while being monitored by Joe Kittinger, who holds the current jump record: 19.5 miles.

It’s Baumgartner’s second test jump and a personal record; he jumped from more than 13 miles up in March. The third and final leap, from 125,000 feet, is planned in late August or early September; if successful, Baumgartner hopes to hit supersonic speeds and break the sound barrier with his body. This time around, like last time, he was lifted in an enclosed capsule attached to a large helium balloon and wore a full-pressure suit complete with an oxygen supply. He was in freefall for 3 minutes, 48 seconds.