Austrian stunt jumper Felix Baumgartner already has an impressive track record of jumps in his career, but now he’s looking to add one more: this summer, he will attempt to break the world record for highest skydive. He seeks to beat retired US Air Force Colonel Joe Kittenger’s record of a 102,800 foot (19 miles/31 km) jump in 1960. Kittenger is working as Baumgartner’s advisor on the mission and he “is delighted to be a part of the project for Felix to beat the record”. Baumgartner wants to beat out Kittenger by jumping from a capsule at 120,000 feet up – a full 23 miles above the Earth’s surface.
Baumgartner has already completed the first of two test jumps from 71,581 feet (13.5 miles) in which he reached speeds of more than 360 miles per hour. His jump this summer will be from nearly twice that height, allowing him to potentially surpass the speed of sound.
In 1999, he claimed the world record for highest parachute jump from a building for his jump off the Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (which has since been surpassed by Nasr Al Niyadi and Omar Al Hegelan, who leapt from the Burj Khalifa in Dubai in 2010). He has also made one of the lowest BASE jumps recorded, jumping from the hand of the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The list goes on.
A final note: though the gear, photos and press may make it look like Baumgartner is making a “jump from space”, he will still technically be in the stratosphere.
Check out the video from the BBC below for more info on the jump.
Photo: Jay Nemeth/Red Bull Content Pool