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RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And Australian daredevil is set to test several scientific principles today, as he jumps from a balloon nearly 22 miles above the Earth. Wearing a specially designed suit, Felix Baumgartner should reach a speed of about 700 miles an hour, as he becomes the first skydiver to break the sound barrier. It may be a stunt, and a stunning one, but Baumgartner says the data from his stratospheric leap could help develop lifesaving measures and equipment for astronauts. Once he jumps from a capsule carried by that special balloon, it will only take minutes for Baumgartner to fall and then float with a parachute, gently down to the New Mexico desert. His two practice jumps have been successful. But as Felix Baumgartner told the BBC, if something goes wrong, the only thing that might help you is God.

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