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News Link • Events: New Mexico

'Space Jumping' Skydiver Survives 18 Mile Freefall

•, Mike Wall

Austrian adventurer Felix Baumgartner stepped out of his custom-built capsule at an altitude of 96,640 feet (29,456 meters) above southeastern New Mexico, officials with Red Bull Stratos — the name of Baumgartner's mission — announced today.

In today's jump, Baumgartner experienced freefall for three minutes and 48 seconds, reaching a top speed of 536 mph (863 kph), project officials said. Baumgartner then opened his parachute and glided to Earth safely about 10 minutes and 30 seconds after stepping into the void.

Baumgartner has his eyes on an even bigger leap, a "space jump" from 125,000 feet (38,100 m) in the next month or so. (Space, however, is generally considered to begin at an altitude of 62 miles, or 327,000 feet.)

He's working up to this goal in stepwise fashion, having completed a jump from 71,581 feet (21,818 m) this past March. Before that, his highest-ever skydive was from 30,000 feet (9,144 m) up, team officials said.

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