x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Supersonic skydiver lands safely after record attempt

'Fearless Felix' has landed safely after his bid to break the sound barrier skydiving from the edge of space - watch the attempt live here.

Felix Baumgartner of Austria steps out of his trailer for final preparations before his 37km skydive.
Felix Baumgartner of Austria steps out of his trailer for final preparations before his 37km skydive.

ROSWELL, New Mexico // Austrian skydiver Felix Baumgartner has landed safely in New Mexico after breaking the record for the highest manned balloon flight and plummeting in a skydiving freefall from the edge of space, 39 kilometres above New Mexico today.

The 43-year-old daredevil leapt from a capsule tethered to the massive but extremely delicate helium balloon high above Roswell.

Baumgartner aimed to set four world records, including jumping from the capsule to become the first person to break the speed of sound in his skydiving freefall.

At 7.30pm UAE time the balloon successfully launched into the sky with Baumgartner inside wearing his high-tech pressurised suit, which he is testing for high-altitude jumps.

Talking to the skydiver Mission Control at 7.35pm said: "Everything is green, eveything is looking good Felix, God speed."

The former Austrian paratrooper's jump was postponed twice last week because of high winds.

If successful, "Fearless Felix" will break a 52-year-old altitude record by Joe Kittinger, who jumped from 19.5 miles (31 kilometers) and reached a speed of 614 mph (988 kph), just under the sound barrier.

He called last week's postponement nerve-wracking but said today's date is one already steeped in aviation history. On October 14, 1947, an experimental rocket plane piloted by Chuck Yeager broke the sound barrier for the first time over Edwards Air Force Base in California.

"I want to break the speed of sound, no matter what it takes," he said in a statement.

"As long as we have a spare balloon and more launch days, I'm good."