An anonymous reader writes "On Thursday Felix Baumgartner climbed into a capsule carried by a balloon, floated up to 71,500 feet, and jumped out. He free-fell through the atmosphere for almost four minutes, hitting an estimated top speed of 364 mph. 'I wanted to open the parachute after descending for a while but I noticed that I was still at an altitude of 50,000ft,' he said. After finally deploying his chute, he fell for a bit over four more minutes, before successfully touching down in the New Mexico Desert. This was a test to prepare him for a jump of 120,000 feet later this summer, during which Baumgartner will break the record for highest free-fall jump — and the sound barrier. '... a 36-pound spacesuit is all that separates Baumgartner from a hostile world that would boil the blood in his body. Baumgartner will wear a chest pack crammed with data-hungry instruments to help ground controllers monitor the attempt — and log scientific data. Some will keep tabs on his heart rate and oxygen intake to see how a body in a spacesuit reacts to a boundary no one has broken (and lived to tell the tale): the speed of sound.'"
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