An Austrian daredevil jumped from a balloon flying at an altitude more than 18 miles (29 kilometres) above Earth on Wednesday, falling at speeds topping 500 miles per hour (805 kilometres per hour) in a training run for his attempt to make the world’s highest skydive.
Felix Baumgartner landed safely in a desert near Roswell, New Mexico after leaping from an estimated 96,940 feet (29,547 metres) wearing a pressurized space suit equipped with an oxygen supply.
The test parachute jump was the second for Baumgartner, who is on a quest to complete a record-breaking skydive from 120,000 feet (36,576 metres) in the coming weeks.
The current record for the highest altitude skydive is 102,800 feet (31,333 metres). It was set 52 years ago by U.S. Air Force Captain Joe Kittinger, who is serving as an adviser to Baumgartner.
He executed a free fall of 3 minutes and 48 seconds, reaching speeds of 536 mph (862 kph), according to Red Bull Stratos, a project using the jumps to gather medical and scientific research data. In the next jump, the size of the balloon that will carry Baumgartner will rise as tall as a skyscraper.