Skydiver 'Fearless Felix' Baumgartner Jumps From 96,640 Feet

| by Michael Allen

On Wednesday, skydiver 'Fearless Felix' Baumgartner took a stratospheric leap from an altitude of more than 18 miles, an estimated 96,640 feet, three times higher than cruising jetliners.

Baumgartner landed safely near Roswell, N.M. His top speed was an estimated 536 mph.

It's the second test jump for Baumgartner, who is aiming for a record-breaking jump from 125,000 feet, or 23 miles, in another month, reports the Associated Press.

Baumgartner said he hopes to go supersonic then, breaking the speed of sound with just his body: "It has always been a dream of mine."

Record-holder Joe Kittinger jumped from 102,800 feet, 19.5 miles, in 1960 for the Air Force. The 84-year-old Kittinger monitored Wednesday's jump from a mini Mission Control in Roswell.

Baumgartner ascended in an enclosed capsule lifted by a giant helium balloon. He wore a full-pressure suit equipped with parachutes and an oxygen supply.

It took about 1 1/2 hours to reach 96,640 feet. He was in free fall for three minutes and 48 seconds before opening his parachutes.

Baumgartner won't come close to space in his attempt to break the world record, as space officially begins at 62 miles, more than 328,000 feet.