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Supersonic skydiver Felix Baumgartner even faster than thought

Felix Baumgartner of Austria leapt into history from over 24 miles up on Oct. 14.

Associated Press (2012)

Felix Baumgartner of Austria leapt into history from over 24 miles up on Oct. 14.

Supersonic skydiver Felix Baumgartner was faster than he or anyone else thought during his record-setting jump in October from 24 miles up.

The Austrian parachutist known as "Fearless Felix" reached 843.6 mph, according to official numbers released Monday. That's equivalent to Mach 1.25, or 1.25 times the speed of sound.

His top speed initially was estimated at 834 mph, or Mach 1.24.

Either way, he became the first human to break the sound barrier with only his body. He wore a pressurized suit and hopped from a capsule hoisted by a giant helium balloon over New Mexico.

He was supersonic for a half-minute — "quite remarkable," according to Brian Utley, the recordkeeping official who was present for the Oct. 14 feat.

The 43-year-old's heart rate remained below 185 beats a minute, and his breathing was fairly steady.

The leap was from an altitude of 127,852 feet. That's 248 feet lower than original estimates, but still stratospheric.

"He jumped from a little bit lower, but he actually went a little bit faster, which was pretty exciting," said Art Thompson, technical project director for the Red Bull-sponsored project.

Thompson said everything pretty much unfolded as anticipated, with no big surprises in the final report.

In the foreword of the 71-page report, Baumgartner wrote that 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."

Supersonic skydiver Felix Baumgartner even faster than thought 02/04/13 [Last modified: Monday, February 4, 2013 11:07pm]
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