“Fearless” Felix Baumgartner is preparing for his 23 mile skydiving jump where he will attempt to be the first person to break the sound barrier during a free fall.
To give some perspective, Baumgartner will jump from a distance more than three times higher than the cruising altitude of a commercial jet, reports Slate.
Despite the fact that he’ll only have a pressurized suit and a helmet between him and an expected temperature of negative 70 degrees, the extreme skydiver is optimistic about his jump, which will take place over the New Mexico desert in less than a week.
The skydiver stated:
“So many unknowns, but we have solutions to survive.”
His team is sponsored by Red Bull energy drinks and includes numerous doctors and engineers, as well as the current skydive record-holder Joe Kittinger. Kittinger leapt from an open gondola in 1960, when he was an Air Force officer, falling 19.5 miles at 614 mph (about Mach 0.9).
But don’t expect Felix Baumgartner to attempt another jump at a higher (or lower) altitude, as the extreme skydiver stated:
“After this. I’m going to retire because I’ve been successfully doing things for the last 25 years and I’m still alive.”
Fox News notes that the 43-year-old former military parachutist’s team has spent almost five years preparing for the jump, including two jumps where he has tested out his suit and the capsule he will jump from.
If everything goes as planned, Baumgartner will reach the speed of sound about 30 seconds after he jumps at an altitude of 100,000 feet. After this, the atmosphere will be denser, allowing the skydiver to slow down. After five minutes of free falling, he will pull his main parachute. In all, the descent is expected to take 15 to 20 minutes.
Baumgartner will be rigged with cameras during the ascent and descent, which will provide a live broadcast of the jump to the internet. The helium balloon carrying the extreme skydiver will lift off at sunrise on Monday, October 8.