Skydiver in 4-minute free-fall jump

March 16, 2012 at 8:15 PM   |   Comments

ROSWELL, N.M., March 16 (UPI) -- An Austrian who made a free-fall jump from 71,581 feet into New Mexico that lasted nearly 4 minutes plans to make a 120,000-foot "space jump," officials said.

Felix Baumgartner stepped out of a custom-built capsule suspended below a balloon and plummeted to Earth in a free fall that lasted 3 minutes and 43 seconds, reaching a top speed of 364 mph, officials of the Red Bull Stratos project said.

After his parachute opened, he landed safely Thursday about 30 miles from Roswell, N.M., The Christian Science Monitor reported.

The ultimate goal for Baumgartner and project sponsor Red Bull is an even bigger leap -- his so-called space jump -- from 120,000 feet this summer.

The record for highest-altitude skydive is 102,800 feet set in 1960 by U.S. Air Force Captain Joe Kittinger.

Baumgartner said the toughest part of Thursday's jump was the extreme cold he experienced high in Earth's atmosphere.

"I could hardly move my hands," he said in a statement. "We're going to have to do some work on that aspect."

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