When Felix Jumped, the World Jumped With Him
Oct. 14, 2012 -- High above Roswell, New Mexico, late Sunday morning, a helium-filled balloon ascended to around 128,000 ft carrying Felix Baumgartner into the history books. Just after noon local time (2 p.m. EDT), the Austrian daredevil leant forward and slowly stepped into the void -- gravity took over, causing him to plummet through the stratosphere, traveling faster than the speed of sound.
Every step of the way, millions of people watched online and live via Discovery Channel. With the help of Twitter and other social media platforms, the Red Bull Stratos team gave us all an intimate and exhilarating ride from launch to landing. During that heart stopping moment when Baumgartner jumped -- beating Joe Kittinger's 52 year-old record -- we all jumped with him.
"I know the whole world is watching now, and I wish the world could see what I see. And sometimes you have to go up really high to see how small you really are." -- Felix Baumgartner, just before he jumped.
I was fortunate to be on Sunday news duty during the event and grabbed some scenes from the Red Bull Stratos live feed to share with Discovery News readers via our Twitter account. So, to commemorate Baumgartner's achievement -- and a memorable few hours of being hardwired to Twitter -- here's a few of my favorite screenshots (plus tweets) from this historic day.
"It's a beautiful sight! #Stratos #SpaceJumpLIVE" (The Stratos balloon is inflated just before launch.)
"The Red Bull #Stratos capsule moments before launch #SpaceJumpLIVE"
"Red Bull #Stratos rises beyond "the danger zone" #SpaceJumpLIVE" (The danger zone is at an altitude where wind shear could interfere with the balloon's ascent.)
"Beautiful view from Red Bull #Stratos #SpaceJumpLIVE"
"Red Bull #Stratos exceeds 50,000 ft #SpaceJumpLIVE"
"Wow!! #Stratos #livejump #SpaceJumpLIVE" (Millions of viewers tuned into the Red Bull Stratos live feed on YouTube, topping 8 million concurrent viewers at its peak.)
"Noticeable expansion in the Red Bull #Stratos balloon at 70,000 ft #SpaceJumpLIVE #livejump"
"Great view from nearly 71,000ft -- including temperature gauge. #SpaceJumpLIVE"
"Looking over Felix Baumgartner's shoulder inside the #Stratos capsule #SpaceJumpLIVE #livejump"
"Red Bull #Stratos at 83,000 feet. #SpaceJumpLIVE"
"Baumgartner concentrating on the controls inside the #Stratos capsule #SpaceJumpLIVE #livejump"
"Infrared view of the Red Bull #Stratos balloon #SpaceJumpLIVE"
"100,000 ft! #SpaceJumpLIVE #livejump #Stratos"
"Red Bull #Stratos is at 105,000 ft and rising. #SpaceJumpLIVE"
"Red Bull #Stratos: Baumgartner's sun visor is down #SpaceJumpLIVE"
"Red Bull #Stratos balloon is fattening nicely! #SpaceJumpLIVE"
"Beauty! #SpaceJumpLIVE #Stratos"
"Approaching jump time! #SpaceJumpLIVE"
(Baumgartner prepares to open the hatch.)
(The Stratos hatch opens, flooding the capsule with daylight.)
(Baumgartner inches out onto the platform before the jump.)
"JUMP!!!!! #SpaceJumpLIVE GO FELIX!!!"
"Infrared view of Felix in controlled freefall #SpaceJumpLIVE (Shortly before this image was taken, Baumgartner was in a spin, but as he fell into thicker atmosphere he was able to regain control of his freefall.)"
"There he is!! Everything perfect. #SpaceJumpLIVE"
"Baumgartner is guiding the 'chute at 5,000 ft #SpaceJumpLIVE"
"Felix Baumgartner has landed! #SpaceJumpLIVE"
"History. Made. #SpaceJumpLIVE"
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