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Highest and Fastest Parachute Jump

Felix Baumgartner of Austria celebrates his historic parachute jump from the edge of space (Getty Images)

Felix Baumgartner is an Austrian daredevil who has parachuted from the Petronas Towers in Malaysa and the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro, but yesterday he did what he’d been planning for five years to jump from the edge of space and free fall back to Earth at the speed of sound.

Inside a pressurized capsule he used a helium balloon to rise to 24 miles above the Earth, then wearing what basically amounts to a space suit, helmet and parachute he bailed out. At one point in a four-minute-20 second free fall Baumgartner broke the sound barrier hitting nearly 834 mph, faster than the speed of sound Then he pulled the ripcord for the parachute for the final mile or so back to the New Mexico desert.

So in one day he claimed the record for the highest ever parachute jump and the fastest a man has ever flown in a free fall.

And interesting it came on the same day that pilot Chuck Yeager broke the speed of sound in the X-1 rocket plane in 1947.

The X-1 was designed and built at the Bell Aircraft plant in Niagara Falls.

 

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