Red Bull Stratos Skydiver Felix Baumgartner made history last week when he broke through the sound barrier after jumping from a balloon floating 24 miles above the earth.
Fearless Felix hit speeds of more than 800 mph during his descent. But according to Baumgartner, it really didn’t feel that fast.
In his first interview since his record breaking jump, Baumgartner said that the air is so thin 24 miles above the earth that it’s really difficult to judge your speed. Baumgartner said that he knew he was going fast (he maxed out at 834 mph, or Mach 1.24) but he didn’t really feel it.
“In the beginning, because the air is so thin, you don’t have that noise, so you have almost no sensation of speed. You know you’re fast, but you don’t feel it.”
Baumgartner said that the thin air also makes it difficult to control your body position. At the beginning of the jump, Baumgartner said that he started to spin out of control.
Fearless Felix said:
“It starts ramping up, really violent, and then I knew, now I have to come up with something and I had to find a solution. I only had 40 seconds, because then it’s all over.”
Baumgartner was able to regain control, however, and finished his 20 mile free fall to earth without incident.
Baumgartner has accomplished several extreme feats during his career but the skydiver admitted that he was pretty scared when he was standing on the thin ledge of the balloon 24 miles above the earth.
“You would not be human if you would not have fear up there. If something goes wrong, you’re dead in 15 seconds.”
Still, Felix said that the view was worth it. Felix added:
“It is overwhelming. I mean, that view, and also the fact that when you’re standing there, there’s not a single person on the whole planet who have experienced this moment. It’s unique.”
Here’s a video of the Red Bull Stratos Skydiver’s record breaking jump.