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Skydiver could pass speed of sound

Feb. 7, 2012 at 8:15 PM

VIENNA, Feb. 7 (UPI) -- An Austrian skydiver says he'll attempt to set the record for highest skydive in history this year, aiming to fall faster than the speed of sound.

Felix Baumgartner's jump from a balloon 120,000 feet in the air could lead to a descent so rapid, he would become the first human to go faster than the speed of sound -- 768 miles per hour -- unaided by a machine, the BBC reported Monday. No date for the jump attempt was announced.

Baumgartner said the latest tests on his flight suit were successful -- it will have to encase him completely to maintain air pressure and an oxygen supply. The suit will also have protect the daredevil from minus 70-degree temperatures.

"It means I can deliver, I can perform. The equipment will function," he said.

If there's a serious flaw in the suit, Baumgartner's bodily tissues would swell and the moisture in his eyes and mouth with boil, the BBC said.

The previous record for highest skydive was set in 1960 by Joe Kittinger, who jumped from a balloon at 102,800 feet.

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