Daredevil Leaps From 13 Miles Up

Felix Baumgartner now halfway to skydiver record
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 16, 2012 2:02 AM CDT
Daredevil Leaps From 13 Miles Up
The balloon carrying Felix Baumgartner's capsule ascends.   (AP Photo/Red Bull Stratos, Joerg Mitter)

An Austrian skydiver fell farther than anybody has fallen in 50 years yesterday, but he's still only halfway to making a record. "Fearless" Felix Baumgartner rode a pressurized capsule 13.6 miles up—as high as 57 Empire State Buildings and more than twice as high as commercial aircraft go—before jumping, Wired reports. Baumgartner plans to ride to the edge of space this summer to jump from 23 miles up, breaking the world free fall record.

The record was set in 1960 by Air Force colonel Joe Kittinger, who jumped from 19.5 miles up. Kittinger, now 83, is one of Baumgartner's chief advisers. "Felix, you’re going to have one heck of a view when you step out of that door,” he told Baumgartner before the flight. “Enjoy the experience." The Austrian was in free fall for three minutes and 43 seconds before he pulled the parachute cord yesterday, and will be in free fall for more than five minutes during this summer's leap. (More Felix Baumgartner stories.)

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