Supersonic skydiver Felix Baumgartner reached 844 mph in record jump

Felix Baumgartner

He reached peak speed by the time he was at 91,300 feet (27,800 meters), 50 seconds into the jump, and was back to subsonic by 75,300 feet (23,000 meters), give or take, 64 seconds into his free fall.

His entire free fall lasted four minutes, 20 seconds. He used a parachute to cover the final 5,000 feet (1,500 meters), landing on his feet in the desert outside Roswell.

Not everything went well.

Baumgartner went into a dreaded flat spin while still supersonic. He spun for 13 seconds at approximately 60 revolutions per minute, making 14 to 16 spins before using his body to regain control, Thompson said. The skydiver was well within safety limits the entire time, he noted. Baumgartner's brain remained under 2G, or two times the force of gravity, during the spin.

If the flat spin had lasted longer and been more severe exceeding six continuous seconds at 3.5 G Baumgartner's drogue, or stabilizing, parachute would have deployed automatically. Doctors worried about him blacking out and suffering a stroke or, in the case of a suit tear, his blood boiling at such an extreme altitude. The outside temperature registered as low as minus 96 Fahrenheit (-71 Celsius).

In the foreword of the 71-page report, Baumgartner said he never imagined how many people would share in his dream to make a supersonic free fall from so high.

Some 52 million people watched YouTube's live stream of the exploit.

The scientific and engineering experts who helped bring him back alive "broke boundaries in their own fields just as surely as I broke the sound barrier,'' Baumgartner wrote.

Baumgartner shattered the previous record set by Joe Kittinger, an Air Force officer, in 1960. Kittinger did not quite reach supersonic speed during his jump from 19.5 miles (31 kilometers) up.

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