News Column

Supersonic Skydive over New Mexico Delayed

October 9, 2012

The first supersonic skydive was put on hold Tuesday as winds prevented the launch of the huge helium balloon that was to carry Austrian adventurer Felix Baumgartner to his jumping point 37 kilometres above the New Mexico desert.

Organizers said the jump could still go ahead later in the day if winds calmed.

The 43-year-old is attempting to become the first person to reach supersonic speeds outside an aircraft and also break the world record for the highest-ever parachute jump set by a US Air Force pilot in 1960.

The winds are a crucial factor since even a small gust could potentially rip the massive helium-filled balloon designed to take Baumgartner, protected only by a pressurized suit, to the edge of space.

Launch officials said that the balloon could still be released after 1:30 pm (1730 GMT). It will take up to three hours for the balloon to reach the designated jump altitude.

Source: Copyright 2012 dpa Deutsche Presse-Agentur GmbH

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