Felix Baumgartner of Austria as part of the Red Bull Stratos project made one parachute jump from 71,580 feet over Roswell, N.M., falling at speeds that reached "nearly 365 miles per hour," Red Bull announced, Thursday. The project says the actual mark of 364.4 mph set a new world freefall speed record. The jump lasted a full eight minutes and eight seconds and took Baumgartner through the coldest part of the stratosphere where temperatures ranged near 94 degrees below zero (Fahrenheit). This was just a test and more jumps are expected to follow. The next will aim for a jump from 90,000 feet. More details and images after the jump.
Baumgartner follows in the footsteps of only two other people who have jumped from similar altitudes and survived -- Russian Eugene Andreev and American Joseph Kittinger. Both of those men set their mark in the 1960s. Baumgartner's trip to altitude began at 8:10 a.m. and was made aboard a space capsule tethered to a giant helium balloon. Inside, Baumgartner wore a space suit and after more than one hour and 30 minutes in transit, he stepped out. Kittinger was on the ground watching, as part of a team that includes almost 100 scientists, medical and aerospace experts collected for the mission. Future jumps will seek to increase altitude and have a goal of breaking the speed of sound in freefall.