…and we’re freefallin’ with Felix Baumgartner:

One false start was enough…

Today the 43-year-old extreme skydiver ascended to the upper reaches of the atmosphere above Roswell, N.M., in a bid to come racing back down in a supersonic freefall.

The unofficial top speed recorded by Baumgartner’s Red Bull Stratos team was 1,137 kilometers per hour, or 706 miles per hour. The team’s expectation was that 690 mph would be sufficient to get Baumgartner to Mach 1 — a somewhat variable standard, depending on elevation, air density, and other factors. But that would handily beat the record for the fastest freefall, which has stood at 614 mph for a half-century.

Baumgartner seems clearly to have set a record for the highest manned balloon flight and the highest freefall, having jumped from at altitude of 128,097 feet. The duration of the freefall, 4 minutes and 19 seconds, was just shy of the record (4:36).

Those figures are all preliminary and will be vetted by the appropriate governing bodies.

There…feel better now?

Baby Blues
by Rick Kirkman and Jerry Scott

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