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Skydiver goes supersonic

2012-10-14 21:04

Roswell - Austrian skydiver Felix Baumgartner has become the first man to break the sound barrier during a freefall from space.

He set the record as he plunged 39km, also the record for the highest manned balloon flight, back to earth during a freefall of just under five minutes after being lifted into space in a capsule attached to a helium balloon.

There is so little air in the upper reaches of the atmosphere, that after 30 seconds of freefall, Baumgartner was moving faster than the speed of sound, which is roughly 1 110km/h at that altitude.

He surpassed the highest flight record previously held by Commander Malcolm D Ross and Lieutenant Commander Victor A Prather, Jr at 34 668m set in Strato-Lab 5 during 1961.

Baumgartner lifted off from Roswell in New Mexico about two-and-a-half hours before he jumped.

Sport24