Skydiver's Jump from Space Breaks Sound Barrier

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Nine minutes after Felix Baumgartner stepped off the capsule 24 miles above the earth's surface, he landed safely on his feet, becoming the world's first skydiver to break the sound barrier.

The 43-year-old Australian jumped from an altitude of 128,100 feet, reaching Mach 1.24 (833.9 mph).

According to Brian Utley, who monitored the jump for FAI, Baumgartner was in free fall for about half the distance, or approximately 119, 846 miles.

Baumgartner said traveling faster than sound is "hard to describe because you don't feel it." The pressurized suit prevented him from feeling the air or even hearing the loud noise he made when breaking the sound barrier.

A helium balloon 55 stories high carried him to a record altitude of 128,100 feet.

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

Millions worldwide watched Baumgartner's dizzying descent to earth, with more than 40 television stations in 50 countries broadcast the live-streamed event.

YouTube reported some 8 million simultaneous views and more than 130 digital outlets also broadcast the live feed.

"Sometimes we have to get really high to see how small we are," Baumgartner told reporters afterward, saying he opened his parachute at 5,000 feet as planned.

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