A man fell to Earth from more than 24 miles high on Sunday,becoming the first human to break the sound barrier under his own power with some help from gravity.
The man,Felix Baumgartner,an Austrian daredevil,made the highest and fastest jump in history after ascending by a helium balloon to an altitude of 128,100 feet. As millions around the world experienced the vertiginous view from his capsules camera,which showed a round blue world surrounded by the black of space,he stepped off into the void and plummeted for more than four minutes,reaching a maximum speed measured at 833.9 miles per hour,or Mach 1.24.
He broke altitude and speed records set in 1960 by Joe Kittinger,a retired Air Force colonel whose reassuring voice from mission control guided Baumgartner through tense moments.
It was harder than I expected, said Baumgartner,a 43-year-old former Austrian paratrooper. Trust me,when you stand up there on top of the world,you become so humble. Its not about breaking records any more. Its not about getting scientific data. Its all about coming home.
Landing on his feet in the desert,the man known as Fearless Felix lifted his arms in victory to the cheers of jubilant friends and spectators who closely followed at a command center. Sometimes we have to get really high to see how small we are, an exuberant Baumgartner said after the jump.
The attempt marked the end of a long road for Baumgartner. He has said that this was his final jump.
Meanwhile,Baumgartner smashed the YouTube live view record with more than eight million people tuning in to watch his leap on Sunday. It is the largest number of concurrent live streams in the websites history, the BBC quoted Google UK as as saying.
In his free fall timed 4 min,20 sec,Felix Baumgartner hit a speed of Mach 1.24 or 833.9 mph.
The 55-storey ultra-thin helium balloon in which he travelled had climbed an altitude of 128,100 ft (39 km).