- (Photo: Twitter/Ben Kind)
Red Bull Stratos skydiver Felix Baumgartner is anxiously waiting for the moment he will free fall from the edge of space, breaking the sound barrier as he plummets towards Earth.
Baumgartner, 41, with the help from his energy drink sponsor Red Bull, is planning to skydive from a balloon in the stratosphere from an altitude of 120,000 feet. Should Baumgartner be able to pull of this incredible feat, he would end up breaking several records which have stood for more than 50 years.
The jump is scheduled for early Tuesday morning from a launch site in New Mexico. Should he be successful in his attempt, he would become the first person to break the sound barrier outside of an aircraft, reaching speeds of 690 mph. His jump would also set new records for the highest skydive, the highest manned balloon flight and the longest free fall.
But Baumgartner explained that it is not just about setting records- his jump could also help scientists understand how people are affected in such an extreme environment.
The team supporting Baumgartner, known as the Red Bull Stratos team, will study and monitor his physical condition during the dive as well as the various effects on his body.
"This mission is all about pioneer work," Baumgartner said in a statement. "Maybe one day people will look back and say it was Felix Baumgartner and the Red Bull Stratos team that helped to develop the suit that they're wearing in space. We want to do something for posterity."
The Red Bull Stratos team includes aerospace engineers who are designing technology that will be used to keep Baumgartner safe during his jump, such as the suit he will wear and the capsule that will take him to edge of space.
"We'll be setting new standards for aviation," the team's medical director Jonathan Clark, a former space shuttle surgeon, told Space.com.
"Never before has anyone gone supersonic without being in an aircraft … The aim is to improve the safety for space professionals as well as potential space tourists," Clark said.
The skydive will be live streamed and can be watched here.