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See highlight video of Felix Baumgartner's historic skydive Featured

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If you happened to miss the faster-than-the-speed-of-sound skydive of Fearless Felix on Sunday, October 14, 2012, the sponsor of the event, Red Bull, has provided a YouTube video of the mission highlights. And, to see him jump from 24 miles above the Earth, fall (and tumble at times) through the sky, and land safely in New Mexico, was thrilling, to say the least.

The Red Bull Stratos video, as shown above, was provided to YouTube. It is entitled "Felix Baumgartner's supersonic freefall from 128k' - Mission Highlights" (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FHtvDA0W34I)

The 128k refers to the altitude that Baumgartner was at when he leaped from his capsule: 128,000 feet.  That altitude relates to 39,000 meters, or 24.24 miles (39.01 kilometers). This is really high above the Earth.

In fact, the officially recognized edge of outer space --that which gives a person crossing this boundary the designation "astronaut" -- is 62 miles (100 kilometers) above the Earth's sea level.

So, Baumgartner was about 40% the distance to outer space, and we was only wearing a highly advanced pressure suit and helmet during his leap from the edge of space.

Also known as the Kármán line, this is the boundary between Earth's atmosphere and outer space, as recognized by the international standard setting and record-keeping body for aeronautics and astronautics, the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI).

The caption for the Red Bull video states, "After flying to an altitude of 39,045 meters (128,100 feet) in a helium-filled balloon, Felix Baumgartner completed a record breaking jump for the ages from the edge of space, exactly 65 years after Chuck Yeager first broke the sound barrier flying in an experimental rocket-powered airplane."

And, "Felix reached a maximum of speed of 1,342.8 km/h (833mph) through the near vacuum of the stratosphere before being slowed by the atmosphere later during his 4:20 minute long freefall."

Further, "The 43-year-old Austrian skydiving expert also broke two other world records (highest freefall, highest manned balloon flight), leaving the one for the longest freefall to project mentor Col. Joe Kittinger."

This feat accomplished by Baumgartner was not just a stunt, it was much, much more than that. The data provided by this skydive will help to possibly develop ways for astronauts to safely return to Earth in case an emergency occurs and their spacecraft is unable to send them home.

I can also foresee this becoming an exciting adventure trip for many daredevils out there. How many sky divers would will be willing to pay for a trip of a lifetime? I bet a lot of them.

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William Atkins

William Atkins completed educational degrees in science (bachelor’s in physics and mathematics) from Illinois State University (Normal, United States) and business (master’s in entrepreneurship and bachelor’s in industrial relations) from Western Illinois University

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