Skydiver breaks sound barrier, YouTube record

Felix Baumgartner successfully completed a 24-mile jump on Sunday, Oct. 14, which not only broke the sound barrier but also scored the largest live-feed audience in YouTube history.

The jump, in which Baumgartner reached an estimated peak speed of 833.9 mph, was performed in the eastern New Mexico desert. The 128,100 foot jump represents the highest altitude of any dive, and was performed with Baumgartner wearing only a high-tech suit.

The 43-year-old athlete took about nine minutes to descend safely to the ground.

The experience was “hard to describe because you don’t feel it,” Baumgartner said. When moving faster than sound itself, “you don’t know how fast you travel,” he said to reporters afterwards.

In addition to the sheer physical accomplishment, the dive also broke the record for most YouTube live-feed views at once. With 7.3 million viewers tuned in, Baumgartner’s victory did not go unnoticed.

"On the step, I felt that the whole world is watching," Baumgartner said.

With plenty of opportunities for fatal catastrophe, voices across the internet were quick to congratulate the Australian on his unprecedented accomplishment. After landing, Red Bull posted a picture of Baumgartner which accrued 216,000 likes, 10,000 comments and 29,000 shares in less than an hour.

According to the BBC, half of all Tweets on Sunday were about the jump, far surpassing the attention paid to the seven football games occurring simultaneously.

Having broken this record, Baumgartner plans to retire and settle down with his girlfriend. Surviving the jump made him appreciate what he has, he said.

"When I was standing there on top of the world, you become so humble, you do not think about of breaking records anymore, you do not think of about gaining scientific data. The only thing you want is to come back alive,” Baumgartner said.

He added, "Sometimes we have to get really high to see how small we are."



Featured photo courtesy of Aaron Anderer/Flickr

Photo courtesy of Razvan Caliman/Flickr


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School, major and year: A&S ‘14, Political Science
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