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Daredevil skydiver lifts off for stratosphere jump

Published on Oct 14, 2012 11:23 PM

ROSWELL, New Mexico - An Austrian daredevil lifted off on Sunday in hopes of making his delayed skydive from a balloon flying 37km above the planet and breaking the sound barrier.

Cheers broke out as the craft took flight at 1530 GMT (11.30pm, Singapore time). The enormous balloon rose, then pulled into the air a capsule containing Mr Felix Baumgartner, 43. His mother wept as she watched the launch, which had been scrapped several times during the previous week by high winds.

Mr Baumgartner's ascent into the stratosphere should take 2.5 to three hours. The descent should last just 15 to 20 minutes, more than half of it beneath the relative safety of his parachute's canopy.

The 850,000 cu m plastic balloon is about one-tenth the thickness of a Ziploc bag, or roughly as thin as a dry cleaner bag.

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