Skydiver "Fearless Felix" Baumgartner has amazingly leapt from an altitude of more than 18 miles high, which is approximately 96,640 feet, reaching a top speed of about 536 mph, according to official observer Brian Utley. Baumgartner survived and landed safely near Roswell in New Mexico.
The extraordinary feat is a personal best for Baumgartner, and is just the second "test jump" for the dare devil. His latest jump is about three times the height that a jetliner cruises at. However, Baumgartner is not planning on stopping any time soon; all this is towards targeting a record jump from 125,000 feet, which is about 23 miles up. He plans to attempt this challenge in about a month's time. During that jump he hopes to break the speed of sound by traveling about 690 mph!
Baumgartner said following Wednesday's jump: "It has always been a dream of mine. Only one more step to go," according to The Associated Press.
The current world record is held by Joe Kittinger, who skydived from 102,800 feet, just under 20 miles up. That record was set more than five decades ago in 1960, and was a jump on behalf of the Air Force.
Austrian-born Baumgartner reached his altitude in a closed capsule lifted by a giant helium balloon – the journey took about 90 minutes to reach 96,640 feet. To accomplish his feat he had to wear a full-pressured suit fitted out with parachutes and an oxygen supply.
Baumgartner told AP, "It felt completely different at 90,000 feet. There is no control when you exit the capsule. There is no way to get stable."
To give a sense of achievement, if Baumgartner does manage to break the world record next month jumping from 23 miles up, he will be almost half the way into space. Officially space begins at 100 km up, which is about 62 miles, or more than 328,000 feet.