Monday October 15, 2012
Austrian skydiver reached Mach 1.24
LOS ANGELES: Austrian daredevil Felix Baumgartner reached a top speed of 834 miles per hour, or 1.24 times the speed of sound, in a record-breaking freefall from the edge of space, officials said Sunday.
The speed, revealed at a press conference a few hours after the unprecedented leap, was higher than that given earlier by a spokeswoman, who had put his maximum speed as 706 miles (1,136 kilometers) per hour.
The 43-year-old experienced skydiver was in freefall for four minutes and 20 seconds before opening his parachute, said Red Bull Stratos mission record keeper Brian Utley.
The conversion of 833.9 miles per hour being equal to Mach 1.24 was not immediately clear. Spokeswoman Sarah Anderson said that the speed of sound varies with altitude, but could not immediately clarify any further.
The speed of sound cited by the mission during preparations for the flight was 690 miles per hour. "But altitude effects that," the spokeswoman told AFP.
Baumgartner recalled the emotions sweeping through his body when he stepped out of the capsule at an altitude of 128,100 ft (39,045 meters) over the desert in the US state of New Mexico.
"When you're standing there on top of the world you become so humble... The only thing is you want to come back alive," he told reporters in Roswell, where the launch mission was based.
Baumgartner also clarified what he said as he threw himself into the void below - his words broke up from radio crackle in footage beamed live around the world.
He said: "I know the whole world is all watching now and I wish you could see what I see... Sometimes you have to go up really high to understand how small you are." - AFP