Skydiver From 13 Miles Up Proves Red Bull May Hinder Human Survival Instinct  

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March 16 2012 5:27 PM

Skydiver From 13 Miles Up Proves Red Bull May Hinder Human Survival Instinct  

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(In this photo provided by Red Bull, Pilot Felix Baumgartner of Austria is seen before his jump during the first manned test flight for Red Bull Stratos on March 15, 2012 in Roswell, New Mexico.)

Photo by Jay Nemeth/Red Bull via Getty Images

Daredevils and risk-takers, the gauntlet has been thrown … from 13-miles up.

Felix Baumgartner, the 42-year-old who plans to break the speed of sound with a jump from the stratosphere later this summer, completed his first test this week, skydiving in a space suit from 13 miles up in the sky—about 5 miles higher that a jumbo jet usually flies.

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Baumgartner pulled off this high-flying stunt by heading aloft in his custom designed Red Bull Stratos capsule attached to a 100-foot-wide helium balloon. In a fully pressurized jump suit, he launched himself into a free fall that lasted nearly four minutes and propelled him to speeds of over 360 miles per hour.

The high-flying act is just a dress rehearsal for Baumgartner's ultimate goal: to jump from an altitude of 23 miles, a free fall that will take him past Mach 1. That leap would beat a previous record held by U.S. Air Force Captain Joe Kittinger, who jumped from nearly 20 miles up in 1960. OK, dude, put a diving board on that Red Bull Capsule and a kiddy pool on the ground, and we’re talking business.

Video produced by Paca Thomas

Ben Johnson is the producer of Marketplace Tech from American Public Media.

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