Skydiver and BASE jumper Felix Baumgartner will attempt to be the first person to free fall at supersonic speeds tomorrow morning, pending weather conditions. As part of the Red Bull Stratos mission, Baumgartner will rise 120,000 feet in the air in a specialized space capsule lifted by a polyethylene balloon, where he will then jump and maneuver his body into the head down delta position as he approaches the speed of sound within 40 seconds. Baumgartner will be using a full-pressure suit throughout the mission, which will protect him from the low atmospheric pressure, prevent ebullism (a condition where the liquid in body tissue turns into gas), and keep his body heat in check as he approaches temperatures of -60 degrees during the free fall over Roswell, New Mexico.
Never before has a jump been attempted at this altitude, nor has the human body ever been pushed to supersonic speeds without a vehicle. The previous world-record holder, Joseph Kittinger, leaped from a height of 102,800 feet in 1960. Due to the extremely high risk of such a mission, the Red Bull Stratos team is waiting for the absolute optimal conditions before the jump is attempted. The launch window began October 8th at 6:00AM PT and extends for two weeks. As a result of an unexpected cold front, Baumgartner's ascension has not yet taken place and the launch has been pushed to October 9th at 5:00AM PT, where it will be live streamed. Visit the official Red Bull Stratos site for additional detailed information about the jumper, his equipment, and the mission that began in 2005.