The Straits Times
Published on Oct 09, 2012

Skydiver to attempt record-breaking jump from stratosphere


(REUTERS) - An Austrian adventurer is preparing to skydive from a balloon flying 37km above New Mexico on Tuesday, seeking to break a long-standing altitude record - and the sound barrier - in the process.

Mr Felix Baumgartner, a 43-year-old helicopter pilot, hot-air balloonist and professional skydiver, would become the first person to freefall from that high up in the stratosphere, a region more like the vacuum of space than the oxygen-rich atmosphere closer to Earth.

Weather will be key. Mr Baumgartner's team decided to wait out a cold front moving through the area on Monday before launching the massive but fragile helium balloon that will carry him to an altitude of 36,576m above Roswell, New Mexico.

If the weather is good, the balloon will be launched at dawn on Tuesday, around 7am New Mexico time (7pm Singapore time).