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Felix Baumgartner's skydive from the edge of space postponed by high winds

1:31 PM, Oct 9, 2012   |    comments
  • Daredevil Felix Baumgartner on a test flight (Red Bull)
  • Daredevil Felix Baumgartner on a test flight (Red Bull)
    
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(WXIA) - In the most recent "Star Trek" movie, Captain Kirk and Lieutenant Sulu took a skydive from orbit to try to save the day. Daredevil Felix Baumgartner will attempt a stunt soon that brings that big-screen adventure to life.

As part of Red Bull Stratos, Baumgartner will step out of a helium balloon 23 miles above New Mexico, and -- if all goes well - enter the record books for the highest, longest and fastest freefall in history. Less than a minute after stepping out of the balloon, Baumgartner will be falling faster than the speed of sound as he plummets toward the ground below.

The mission was originally slated for Tuesday, but due to high winds at the launch site, the mission was scrubbed.

The mission is expected to be reset for as soon as Wednesday. However, weather conditions for Wednesday, according to Stratos Mission Control is uncertain. They said after Wednesday, weather conditions are expected to deteriorate for a number of days.

Retired US Air Force Colonel Joseph Kittinger jumped from nearly 103,000 feet - 19.5 miles -- in 1960, which while test pilots took greater and greater risks to see if humans could survive at the edge of space. The freefall that Kittinger went through lasted more than four and a half minutes and took him up to 614 mph during his descent. From the time he jumped to time he touched down, Kittinger fell for more than 13 minutes.

Baumgartner is an experienced BASE jumper who has jumped from the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur, the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro and the Taipei 101 building in Taiwan. In 2003, Baumgartner became the first person to skydive across the English Channel, using special equipment.

His suit looks like a space suit, and includes layers of material that will withstand temperatures well below zero. The suit also includes a high definition video camera in order to capture the view during the ride down. The suit also has a meter that will measure gravitational forces exerted on Baumgartner's body. If he goes into a potentially fatal spin - a realistic possibility on the jump - the meter will trigger a system that can release a three-foot chute designed to stabilize spins. Three other parachutes are on board the suit as well.

It'll take him three hours to get up to the 120,000 foot - 23 mile - mark. Once he gets to the proper altitude in the capsule, he'll wait for an all-clear signal from crews on the ground before depressurizing the capsule and opening the door. One step, and he's off and running. About five minutes after jumping, he'll get to the 5,000 foot point, when he'll deploy his parachute. Ten to 15 minutes later, he should be back on the ground.

The records he'll set if he's successful? Highest manned balloon flight, longest freefall and fastest freefall. Nothing to sneeze at by any measure.

What's next after this? Captain Kirk is waiting for that orbital skydive. 

Red Bull will stream Baumgartner's jump live online beginning at 7 am Eastern Tuesday.

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