The Straits Times
Published on Feb 05, 2013

Supersonic skydiver reached 1,357kmh in record jump


CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida (AP) - Supersonic Austrian skydiver Felix Baumgartner was faster than he or anyone else thought during his record-setting jump last October from 38km up.

The parachutist known as "Fearless Felix" reached 1,357kmh, according to official numbers released Monday. That's equivalent to Mach 1.25, or 1.25 times the speed of sound.

His top speed initially was estimated at 16kmh slower at 1,342kmh, or Mach 1.24. Either way, he became the first human to break the sound barrier with only his body. He wore a pressurised suit and hopped from a capsule hoisted by a giant helium balloon over New Mexico.

Mr Baumgartner was supersonic for a half-minute - "quite remarkable," according to Mr Brian Utley, the record-keeping official who was present for the Oct 14 feat. The 43-year-old's heart rate remained below 185 beats a minute, and his breathing was fairly steady. The leap was from an altitude of 38,969m. That's 75m lower than original estimates, but still stratospheric.