Looks like Jeb has some competition. 42-year-old daredevil skydiver Felix Baumfgartner is seeking to break the world altitude record currently held by 82-year-old retired Air Force test pilot Joe Kittinger who jumped from 102,800 feet – 19.5 miles – in 1960. Fearless Corliss vs. Fearless Felix. He should feel intimidated, but he’s fearless.
Baumfgartner has jumped over 2,500 times from planes, helicopters, and the highest landmarks and skyscrapers on Earth, the most dangerous being his face-first leap into a pitch-black, 620-foot-deep cave in Croatia. Last week he completed a test jump from 13.4 miles in preparation for his record-breaking attempt. This summer he hopes to reach supersonic speed from 23 miles, breaking the sound barrier with his own body. He is only the third person in history to have leapt from this height and land safely, and the first to do it since Kittinger. These jumps are being sponsored by Red Bull’s Stratos (short for stratosphere) Project and will continue to take place over Roswell, New Mexico, a city that is no stranger to beings falling from space. Once you get past the fact that you’re falling at 364.4 mph, those eight minutes and eight seconds between jump and land must be pretty boring.