An Austrian athlete’s bid to plunge from the edge of space and set a record by breaking the sound barrier has been scheduled for October 8 after the capsule was damaged during a practice jump.
Extreme sportsman Felix Baumgartner plans to jump from an altitude of 36,576 meters (120,000 feet) over the US town of Roswell, New Mexico in a space capsule dropped from a stratospheric balloon.
He hopes to become the first human to break the sound barrier — at 690 miles (1,110) kilometers per hour — during free fall and break a high-altitude jump record set 52 years ago by former US air force colonel Joe Kittinger.
“I feel like a tiger in a cage waiting to get out,” Baumgartner, 43, said in a statement.
In 2003 Baumgartner became the first person to make a free fall flight across the English Channel with the aid of a carbon wing.
He will make next month’s jump inside a 1.3-ton capsule that was repaired after being damaged during a practice jump from nearly 30,000 meters in July.
During that jump, he reached speeds of up to 864 kilometers per hour, as fast as a commercial airliner, before deploying a parachute and landing safely away from the capsule, organizers said.
Organizers said the capsule has since been repaired and has successfully undergone testing at an altitude chamber in Texas.
Organizers of the so-called Red Bull Stratos Project — sponsored by the Austrian energy drink maker — also aim to collect data that could help improve the safety of space travel and allow for high-altitude ejections.
They hope to break a number of records, including for highest speed in free fall, highest jump, highest manned balloon flight and longest free fall.