Added by Erik West on October 9, 2012
Felix Baumgartner prepared to attempt the highest sky dive on record on Tuesday. His mission, sponsored by Red Bull, is expect to carry Baumgartner via helium balloon to an altitude of 120,000 feet – considered to be the edge of space.
Update: the mission has been cancelled
Currently, the launch of the balloon is scheduled to be at 15:00UTC/GMT – it will take approximately three hours to reach 120,000 feet, at which point Baumgartner will jump, free-falling for about four minutes and reaching a speed faster than the speed of sound – 1,007 km/h (687 mph) at about -40 degrees celcius..
This mission is preceded by two test jumps from about 71,000 feet (21,000m) and 96,000ft (29,000m), reaching a speed of about 862km/h (535 mph).
The current mission, called Stratos, is expected to have Baumgartner travelling at or faster than the speed of sound within 40 seconds after jumping from a pressurized capsule attached to a helium balloon that’s large enough to cover 40 football fields. The capsule, weighing 2,900 pounds, will travel at over 1,000 feet per minute to reach the target altitude of 120,000 feet within about three hours.
Baumgartner will be wearing a specialized, pressurized space suit that protects him during his super-sonic descent.He will also be wearing a 12 pound pack on his chest which contains instruments and communications equipment that will transmit readings and other data to mission control in real-time.
The mission launches from the US in Roswell, New Mexico, a desert region in the southwestern United States, known for its sunny weather and favorable conditions aerospace innovation.
More information and a live feed of the event is available at http://www.redbullstratos.com/