By W.J. Hennigan, Los Angeles Times –
LOS ANGELES — After two postponed attempts, daredevil Felix Baumgartner will try again to break the world’s free-fall record at 23 miles above Roswell, N.M., and become the first skydiver to surpass the speed of sound.
The next attempt at the jump from 120,000 feet is now set for Sunday.
Baumgartner, 43, is seeking to shatter a record set by Air Force test pilot Joe Kittinger in 1960. The world record stands at 102,800 feet, more than 19 miles.
Baumgartner’s mission was first set for Monday then again Tuesday, but both attempts were canceled due to high winds. Officials have said that an attempt at the feat can be made only if winds on the ground do not exceed 3 mph.
Calm weather is crucial because Baumgartner is to be carried skyward by a massive, helium-filled balloon inside a pressurized capsule. The trip will take up to three hours, and temperatures will fall to as low as minus-70 degrees.
Once Baumgartner jumps from the capsule, he’s expected to become supersonic within 35 seconds and ultimately reach about 700 mph.
After free falling an additional five minutes, he will deploy his parachute. About 15 minutes later, Baumgartner should reach the ground. In all, his descent is expected to last up to 20 minutes. It’s a mission that’s “beyond extreme,” according to at least one observer.
The perilous stunt, called Stratos, is funded by the energy drink company Red Bull and is slated to be webcast live.