Facebook/Red Bull Stratos
In a move nominally for the advancement of science but really for the advancement of awesomeness, skydiver Felix Baumgartner jumped from 128,097 feet today and landed safely on Earth as the culmination of a years-long mission/publicity stunt sponsored by Red Bull.
A 55-story helium balloon carried Baumgartner 24 miles above the Earth. Then he jumped from his little metal stratosphere capsule, and it took him nine minutes to reach the ground. According to the Red Bull Stratos Facebook page, four minutes and 19 seconds of the jump were spent in freefall, and Baumgartner’s speed was 1137 kilometers per hour. The 24-mile fall is the highest jump of any skydiver.
More than five million people tuned in to watch the jump on Red Bull Stratos’ video stream, and Buzzfeed has the pictures.
According to the Huffington Post, Baumgartner said this would be the last jump of his extreme-altitude jumping career. He plans to retire from jumping out of the stratosphere and looks forward to settling down with his girlfriend and living a quiet life of flying mountain rescue helicopters.