News

Austrian daredevil breaks sound barrier in space freefall

AUSTRIAN daredevil Felix Baumgartner became the first human to break the sound barrier in freefall in America early on Monday morning (AEDT).

But the 43-year-old sky-diving expert could not explain to journalists how it felt.

"It is hard to describe because you don't feel it," he told reporters.

After a number of aborted attempts due to unsuitable weather, Mr Baumgartner finally took the plunge from the edge of space as millions of people from around the world watched online in awe.

A giant helium-filled balloon took two hours taking the thrill seeker to the jump altitude - 39km above the Earth.

It is there, in a suit designed to protect him from minus 68-degree temperatures and the possibility of his blood boiling, he leapt into history.

Mr Baumgartner was in free fall for 4min 19 sec, falling just short of the record held by Joe Kittingerm, who was part of the Red Bull Stratos support team for Monday's jump.

He reached a top speed of 1342kmh, or 1.24 times the speed of sound.

At one point during his freefall Mr Baumgartner appeared to spin rapidly, but he quickly re-gained control and moments later opened his parachute as members of the ground crew cheered and viewers around the world heaved a sigh of relief.

"It was an incredible up and down today, just like it's been with the whole project," Mr Baumgartner said.

"First we got off with a beautiful launch and then we had a bit of drama with a power supply issue to my visor. The exit was perfect but then I started spinning slowly.

"I thought I'd just spin a few times and that would be that, but then I started to speed up. It was really brutal at times.

"I thought for a few seconds that I'd lose consciousness. I didn't feel a sonic boom because I was so busy just trying to stabilise myself.

"We'll have to wait and see if we really broke the sound barrier. It was really a lot harder than I thought it was going to be."

In this photo Pilot Felix Baumgartner of Austria celebrates after successfully completing the final manned flight for Red Bull Stratos in Roswell, N.M. on Sunday Oct 14, 2012. Baumgartner came down safely in the New Mexico desert minutes about nine minutes after jumping from his capsule 128,097 feet above Earth.
In this photo Pilot Felix Baumgartner of Austria celebrates after successfully completing the final manned flight for Red Bull Stratos in Roswell, N.M. on Sunday Oct 14, 2012. Baumgartner came down safely in the New Mexico desert minutes about nine minutes after jumping from his capsule 128,097 feet above Earth. AAP / Red Bull Stratos

Mr Baumgartner is no stranger to performing death-defying stunts.

In 2003 he became the first person to skydive across the English Channel using a specially made carbon fibre wing.

He has also set several BASE jumping records.

But he was adamant his latest feat would probably be his last.

"I think I'm done," he said.

Mr Baumgartner and his team spent five years training and preparing for the mission that was designed to improve scientific understanding of how the body copes with the extreme conditions at the edge of space.

 

RECORDS FALL
Breaking the sound barrier - 1342.8kmh
Highest manned balloon flight - 39,045m (128,000ft)

Topics:  daredevil, sky diving, space, usa



No rough oceans ahead for Pier2Pub Swim

READY: Councillor Darren Everard, who has organised the Hervey Bay Pier2Pub for the past six years, will also be participating in the swim this Sunday.

VIDEO: The event will run on Sunday from 8am at the Hervey Bay SLSC.

The biggest stories from the Fraser Coast this week

Camper on road

A recap of the week in news: September 25 to October 1.

Local Partners

Lady Gaga confirms Super Bowl show

Lady Gaga

Lady Gaga to perform in coveted spot

Girls actors give emotional tributes to hit show

Actor Allison Williams

Actors farewell smash hit HBO show Girls after six seasons

Janet Jackson's pregnancy is 'best thing'

Janet Jackson

Janet Jackson can't wait to become a mum

Jay Z signs two-year movie and TV deal

Rapper Jay Z

Rapper Jay Z has signed a television and movie deal

Nowhere to Hyde: Matt Nable is Australia's man in demand

Matt Nable stars as Detective Gary Hyde in the TV series Hyde & Seek.

NABLE returns to the small screen amidst busy film work.

Marvel's Luke Cage S1E13: You Know My Steez review

Rosario Dawson and Mike Colter in a scene from the TV series Marvel's Luke Cage. Supplied by Netflix.

*WARNING: spoilers if you haven't seen Marvel's Luke Cage*

Restaurants soon to be announced at new Gunalda servo

NEW STATION: The Gunalda Service Centre, owned by United Petroleum, will include a 350-seat eating area and a truckers lounge.

Which business would you like to see open in the new centre?

Beach-side real estate starts at $85k on Fraser Coast

HERVEY BAY REAL ESTATE: You can buy this townhouse in Scarness for under $300k.

Live your beach-living dream locally.

$40million hotel, shops development project for Mackay

Mt Pleasant hotel and retirement accommodation, proposed at 194-202 Malcomson St.

$40m development to take Mackay to 'the next level'

Huge Gunalda service station set to open by December

NEW STATION: The Gunalda Service Centre, owned by United Petroleum, will include a 350-seat eating area and a truckers lounge.

The massive servo is the biggest United development in Queensland.

Property leader says Fraser Coast market is looking up

Positivity is the buzz word in the Fraser Coast housing market

Property 200m from ocean selling for just over $100K

BEACHCOMBER PARK: Work has started on a new $19.2 million development at Toogoom.

The estate's developer is offering huge discounts for early buyers.