Leaping from the edge of space

Many remember the day Joseph Kittenger leaped from 96,760 feet, setting a world record. That record was broken and then some on Oct. 14, 2012. Felix Baumgartner rose in a small capsule sponsored by Red Bull to the edge of space. He stepped out on the edge, and jumped from 128,100 feet.
As reported in a New York Times article, Kittenger said just before Baumgartner jumped, “All right, step up on the exterior step. Start the cameras. And our guardian angel will take care of you now.”

Baumgartner gave a salute and said, “I know the whole world is watching, and I wish the whole world could see what I see. Sometimes you have to go really high to understand how small you really are.”

Free falling for more than four minutes, Baumgartner broke the speed of sound with his body accelerating to speeds of more than 750 miles per hour. Baumgartner set two world records in the process. One consisted of the highest freefall ever, and the second was the fastest. Assisted by Kittenger, Baumgartner finally achieved what he had been working for the past four years.

What many don’t realize though, is how close Baumgartner was to not breaking the records. During freefall, his visor began fogging up and visibility was limited. As he was diving, Baumgartner was positioned head down, arms to the side of his body. Instead, he was tumbling out of control and along with the foggy visor, he almost considered pulling his emergency parachute, ending the freefall.
Baumgartner had this to say while standing at the edge of space, “Trust me, when you stand up there on top of the world, you become so humble. It’s not about breaking records anymore. It’s not about getting scientific data. It’s all about coming home.”

After successfully landing in the New Mexico desert, Baumgartner dropped to his knees and raised his arms victoriously. Cheers erupted from mission control and from millions watching worldwide from their computer screens.
Baumgartner not only broke records with his jump, but wowed millions of people and forever etched his name into history. It was a day no one may ever forget.