When in 1969 Neil Armstrong stepped foot on the Moon and said “That’s one small step for (a) man, one giant leap for mankind”, Felix Baumgartner was just 3 months old. Who would have thought that 43 years later the Austrian skydiver would be making the biggest leap any man has made when he attempts a supersonic freefall from 120,000 ft (almost 36km) this afternoon.

Red Bull Stratos, created by Red Bull and Felix Baumgartner, is a mission to the edge of space that will try to surpass human limits that have existed for more than 50 years. Baumgartner will aim to beat Joe Kittinger’s 52 year-old record of 102,800 ft, for the highest free-fall in history. Interestingly, Kittinger will be seated in mission control throughout and will guide Baumgartner’s space jump.

READ the article with Baumgartner’s thoughts from after the successful jump.

Supported by a team of experts, Felix Baumgartner will undertake a stratospheric balloon flight to more than 120,000 feet / 36,576 meters and make a record-breaking freefall jump in the attempt to become the first man to break the speed of sound in freefall (an estimated 690 miles / 1,110 kilometres per hour).

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The mission, which was delayed by 24 hours due to bad weather will now go ahead at 13:30 BST this afternoon – with the team hoping to capture valuable data for medical and scientific advancement.

Yesterday, the team conducted a step by step dress rehearsal of the launch (58 steps to be exact) and checked each and every function of Felix’s suit.

“Rehearsal is critical,” said high performance director Andy Walshe. “Everything went wonderfully well and the crew was on their game. A couple of times we were ahead of schedule, which is really reassuring. It gives us a sense of confidence.”

Pilot Felix Baumgartner stands next to the capsule during the preparation of the final manned flight for Red Bull Stratos in Roswell, New Mexico, USA on October 5, 2012.

Understanding the need to coordinate his activities with those of other crew members, Baumgartner participated too, undergoing a medical check, getting suited up and entering the capsule using the same activation plan that will be implemented at the final launch. “You cannot do this without a team to support you,” the Austrian noted.

Baumgartner will launch with the largest manned balloon in history: 550 feet/ 168 meters high at the start with a volume of 30 million cubic feet/ 850.000 cubic meters.

You can watch the jump, either here on SkiddMark, or perhaps better still over at the Red Bull Stratos Mission site.

Written By

Steve Davies

Steve is an investor, private equity advisor and former Partner at KPMG, PwC and Bain.   Most importantly he's a life-long car enthusiast, mountain biker and active sports enthusiast. He designs and builds technology platforms and is the architect behind Transmission.

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