Skydiver Successfully Leaps From Record Altitude

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Sunday, Austrian pilot Felix Baumgartner landed safely on Earth after jumping 24 miles for just over nine minutes from the stratosphere. He lept from the highest altitude ever for a skydiver.


This is WEEKENDS on ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Celeste Headlee. Earlier today, professional thrill seeker Felix Baumgartner set a new record for the highest skydiving jump and became the first to break the sound barrier on a jump. Standing on a narrow step more than 24 miles above the Earth and breathing heavily, Baumgartner had a few last words.

FELIX BAUMGARTNER: The whole world is watching now. Sometimes, you have to get up really high to see how small you are. I'm going over now.

HEADLEE: Sometimes you have to get up really high to see how small you are, he says, I'm going over now. And the whole world was watching. More than 7.1 million people tuned in on YouTube. That's more than 10 times the previous YouTube streaming record. Earlier this year on ALL THINGS CONSIDERED, Baumgartner explained what super high jumps feel like.

BAUMGARTNER: In freefall, you don't really have any sensation of speed at all because you don't have reference points. Nothing is passing by. So it pretty much feels like a normal skydive, which is the sad part of it. Speed 600 miles per hour.

HEADLEE: After more than nine minutes and 128,000 feet, he landed safely.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: World record holder.

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