Baumgartner: I Just Wanted to Make It Home

Out of control spin caused scary moment at start of jump

By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff

Posted Oct 15, 2012 7:57 AM CDT

(Newser) – Jumping to Earth from 24 miles up—a feat that secured him a place in the annals of history as the first human to break the sound barrier on his own—"was harder than I expected," said Felix Baumgartner after yesterday's record-breaking skydive. Early in the jump, he started spinning out of control—a problem that also almost killed the last altitude and speed record-holder Joe Kittinger 50 years ago—but Baumgartner was able to stabilize when the air got thicker, and the rest of his jump went smoothly, including the landing in the New Mexico desert. "At a certain RPM, there’s only one way for blood to leave your body, and that’s through your eyeballs," Baumgartner explained after the jump. "That means you’re dead. That was what we feared most."

"Trust me, when you stand up there on top of the world, you become so humble," he continued. "It’s not about breaking records anymore. It’s not about getting scientific data. It’s all about coming home." Kittinger himself guided Baumgartner from mission control, the New York Times notes. "He demonstrated that a man could survive in an extremely high altitude escape situation," Kittinger said after the jump. "Future astronauts will wear the spacesuit that Felix test-jumped today." The 4-minute, 20-second jump was also good news for social media, the AP reports—nearly 7.3 million viewers watched it live on YouTube; a picture of Baumgartner after landing was shared more than 29,000 times in less than 40 minutes on Facebook; and tweets about the jump surpassed even those about Justin Bieber. The AP also has a comparison of Baumgartner's and Kittinger's history-making jumps.

This image made from video, provided by Red Bull Stratos shows pilot Felix Baumgartner of Austria as he jumps out of the capsule during the final manned flight for Red Bull Stratos on Sunday, Oct. 14, 2012.
This image made from video, provided by Red Bull Stratos shows pilot Felix Baumgartner of Austria as he jumps out of the capsule during the final manned flight for Red Bull Stratos on Sunday, Oct. 14,...   (AP Photo/Red Bull Stratos)
This image provided by Red Bull Stratos shows pilot Felix Baumgartner of Austria as he jumps out of the capsule during the final manned flight for Red Bull Stratos on Sunday, Oct. 14, 2012.
This image provided by Red Bull Stratos shows pilot Felix Baumgartner of Austria as he jumps out of the capsule during the final manned flight for Red Bull Stratos on Sunday, Oct. 14, 2012.   (AP Photo/Red Bull Stratos)
In this photo provided by Red Bull Stratos, Pilot Felix Baumgartner of Austria celebrates after successfully completing the final manned flight for Red Bull Stratos in Roswell, NM, Oct. 14, 2012.?
In this photo provided by Red Bull Stratos, Pilot Felix Baumgartner of Austria celebrates after successfully completing the final manned flight for Red Bull Stratos in Roswell, NM, Oct. 14, 2012.?   (AP Photo/Red Bull Stratos, Balazs Gardi)
This image taken from a video monitor, provided by Red Bull Stratos, shows pilot Felix Baumgartner of Austria before he jumps out of the capsule during the final manned flight for Red Bull Stratos on Sunday, Oct. 14, 2012.
This image taken from a video monitor, provided by Red Bull Stratos, shows pilot Felix Baumgartner of Austria before he jumps out of the capsule during the final manned flight for Red Bull Stratos on...   (AP Photo/Red Bull Stratos, Jay Nemeth)
This photo provided by Red Bull Stratos shows pilot Felix Baumgartner of Austria as he jumps out of the capsule during the final manned flight for Red Bull Stratos on Sunday, Oct. 14, 2012.
This photo provided by Red Bull Stratos shows pilot Felix Baumgartner of Austria as he jumps out of the capsule during the final manned flight for Red Bull Stratos on Sunday, Oct. 14, 2012.   (AP Photo/Red Bull Stratos, Jay Nemeth)
This photo provided by Red Bull Stratos shows pilot Felix Baumgartner, of Austria, preparing to jump from the capsule during the final manned flight for Red Bull Stratos, Sunday, Oct. 14, 2012.
This photo provided by Red Bull Stratos shows pilot Felix Baumgartner, of Austria, preparing to jump from the capsule during the final manned flight for Red Bull Stratos, Sunday, Oct. 14, 2012.   (AP Photo/Red Bull Stratos, Jay Nemeth)
Felix Baumgartner, of Austria, gives a thumbs up after successfully jumping from a space capsule lifted by a helium balloon at a height of just over 128,000 feet above the Earth's surface, Oct. 14, 2012, in Roswell, NM.
Felix Baumgartner, of Austria, gives a thumbs up after successfully jumping from a space capsule lifted by a helium balloon at a height of just over 128,000 feet above the Earth's surface, Oct. 14, 2012,...   (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
In this photo provided by Red Bull Stratos, pilot Felix Baumgartner of Austria and Technical Project Director Art Thompson, celebrate after successfully completing the final manned flight for Red Bull Stratos in Roswell, NM, Sunday, October 14, 2012.?
In this photo provided by Red Bull Stratos, pilot Felix Baumgartner of Austria and Technical Project Director Art Thompson, celebrate after successfully completing the final manned flight for Red Bull...   (AP Photo/Red Bull Stratos, Joerg Mitter)
Felix Baumgartner, right, of Austria, celebrates with Luke Aikins, team skydiving consultant, after Baumgartner successfully jumped from a space capsule lifted by a helium balloon at a height of just over 128,000 feet above the Earth's surface, Oct. 14, 2012, in Roswell, NM.
Felix Baumgartner, right, of Austria, celebrates with Luke Aikins, team skydiving consultant, after Baumgartner successfully jumped from a space capsule lifted by a helium balloon at a height of just...   (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
In this photo provided by Red Bull Stratos, pilot Felix Baumgartner of Austria lands in the desert after his successful jump on Sunday, Oct. 14, 2012 in Roswell, NM.
In this photo provided by Red Bull Stratos, pilot Felix Baumgartner of Austria lands in the desert after his successful jump on Sunday, Oct. 14, 2012 in Roswell, NM.   (AP Photo/Red Bull Stratos, Predrag Vuckovic)
In this photo provided by Red Bull, pilot Felix Baumgartner of Austria celebrates after his successful jump on Sunday, Oct. 14, 2012 in Roswell, NM.
In this photo provided by Red Bull, pilot Felix Baumgartner of Austria celebrates after his successful jump on Sunday, Oct. 14, 2012 in Roswell, NM.   (AP Photo/Red Bull Stratos, Predrag Vuckovic)
In this photo provided by Red Bull, pilot Felix Baumgartner of Austria lands in the desert after his successful jump on Sunday, Oct. 14, 2012 in Roswell, NM.
In this photo provided by Red Bull, pilot Felix Baumgartner of Austria lands in the desert after his successful jump on Sunday, Oct. 14, 2012 in Roswell, NM.   (AP Photo/Red Bull Stratos, Predrag Vuckovic)
In this photo provided by Red Bull, Eva Baumgartner of Austria watches her son, Felix Baumgartner, as he attempts to break the speed of sound with his own body by jumping from a space capsule lifted by a helium balloon, Sunday, Oct. 14, 2012, in Roswell, NM.
In this photo provided by Red Bull, Eva Baumgartner of Austria watches her son, Felix Baumgartner, as he attempts to break the speed of sound with his own body by jumping from a space capsule lifted by...   (AP Photo/Red Bull Stratos, Stefan Aufschnaiter, HO)
In this photo provided by Red Bull, pilot Felix Baumgartner of Austria is seen in a screen at mission control center in the capsule during the final manned flight for Red Bull Stratos in Roswell, NM on Sunday, Oct. 14, 2012.
In this photo provided by Red Bull, pilot Felix Baumgartner of Austria is seen in a screen at mission control center in the capsule during the final manned flight for Red Bull Stratos in Roswell, NM on...   (AP Photo/Red Bull Stratos, Stefan Aufschnaiter)
This photo provided by Red Bull shows the balloon lifts up during the helium balloon carrying Felix Baumgartner, Sunday, Oct. 14, 2012, in Roswell, NM.
This photo provided by Red Bull shows the balloon lifts up during the helium balloon carrying Felix Baumgartner, Sunday, Oct. 14, 2012, in Roswell, NM.   (AP Photo/Red Bull Stratos, Predrag Vuckovic, HO)
In this photo provided by Red Bull, pilot Felix Baumgartner of Austria is seen in a screen at mission control center in the capsule during the final manned flight for Red Bull Stratos in Roswell, NM on Sunday, Oct. 14, 2012.
In this photo provided by Red Bull, pilot Felix Baumgartner of Austria is seen in a screen at mission control center in the capsule during the final manned flight for Red Bull Stratos in Roswell, NM on...   (AP Photo/Red Bull Stratos, Stefan Aufschnaiter)
The capsule and attached helium balloon carrying Felix Baumgartner lifts off as he attempts to break the speed of sound with his own body by jumping from a space capsule lifted by a helium balloon, Sunday, Oct. 14, 2012, in Roswell, NM.
The capsule and attached helium balloon carrying Felix Baumgartner lifts off as he attempts to break the speed of sound with his own body by jumping from a space capsule lifted by a helium balloon, Sunday,...   (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
A helicopter hovers above the helium balloon, attached to the capsule carrying Felix Baumgartner, before he attempts to break the speed of sound with his own body by jumping from the space capsule, Sunday, Oct. 14, 2012, in Roswell, NM.
A helicopter hovers above the helium balloon, attached to the capsule carrying Felix Baumgartner, before he attempts to break the speed of sound with his own body by jumping from the space capsule, Sunday,...   (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
The capsule and attached helium balloon carrying Felix Baumgartner lifts off as he attempts to break the speed of sound with his own body by jumping from a space capsule lifted by a helium balloon, Sunday, Oct. 14, 2012, in Roswell, NM.
The capsule and attached helium balloon carrying Felix Baumgartner lifts off as he attempts to break the speed of sound with his own body by jumping from a space capsule lifted by a helium balloon, Sunday,...   (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
The capsule, bottom left, and attached helium balloon carrying Felix Baumgartner lifts off as he attempts to break the speed of sound with his own body by jumping from a space capsule lifted by a helium balloon, Sunday, Oct. 14, 2012, in Roswell, NM.
The capsule, bottom left, and attached helium balloon carrying Felix Baumgartner lifts off as he attempts to break the speed of sound with his own body by jumping from a space capsule lifted by a helium...   (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
An onlooker waves as he and others watch the capsule carrying Felix Baumgartner lifts off as he attempts to break the speed of sound with his own body by jumping from a space capsule lifted by a helium balloon, Sunday, Oct. 14, 2012, in Roswell, NM.
An onlooker waves as he and others watch the capsule carrying Felix Baumgartner lifts off as he attempts to break the speed of sound with his own body by jumping from a space capsule lifted by a helium...   (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
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