"The door has opened," says the TV announcer as Daredevil Felix Baumgartner prepares to start his jump from 39km above the Earth that saw him break the sound barrier and reach speeds above 1300km/hr. Photo from Youtube video.
Felix Baumgartner stands at the edge of his balloon capsule more than 39km above the New Mexico desert, seconds before his jump. Millions of TV viewers didn't know it, but he was struggling with a last-minute visor problem. Photo from Youtube video.
Daredevil jumps from edge of space
Felix Baumgartner's record-breaking jump from 39km inside the stratosphere, broke the sound barrier as he tumbled out of the sky before landing safely in New Mexico.
Austrian daredevil Felix Baumgartner became the first man to break the sound barrier in a record-shattering, death-defying freefall jump on Sunday from the edge of space.
The 43-year-old leapt from a capsule more than 39 kilometres above the Earth, reaching a top speed of 1342km/h (833.9 miles/h), or 1.24 times the speed of sound, according to organisers.
The skydiver's blood could have boiled if there were the slightest tear or crack in his pressurised spacesuit-like outfit, due to instant depressurisation at the extreme altitude.
The veteran skydiver was in freefall for four minutes and 20 seconds before opening his red and white parachute and floating down to the desert, said Red Bull Stratos mission record keeper Brian Utley.
Mission control erupted in cheers as Baumgartner sprung from the capsule hoisted aloft by a giant helium-filled balloon to an altitude of 39,044 metres (128,097 feet), even higher than expected.
"It was way harder than I expected. I think 20 tonnes have fallen from my shoulders. I prepared for this for seven years," he told German-language ServusTV in Austria in his first interview after the leap.
Putting aside worries about the faulty helmet, Baumgartner plunges toward Earth. Photo from Youtube video.
Referring to a helmet problem that nearly forced him to abort at the last minute, Baumgartner said: "Even on a day like this when you start so well, then there's a little glitch.
"And you think you'll have to abort – what if you've prepared everything and it fails on a visor problem. But I finally decided to jump. And it was the right decision."
Shortly before jumping, in footage beamed live around the world – on a crackly radio link recalling Neil Armstrong's first words on the Moon – he had said: "Sometimes you have [to go] up really high to [understand] how small you are."
The Austrian took more than two hours to get up to the jump altitude. Baumgartner had already broken one record before he even leapt: the previous highest altitude for a manned balloon flight was 113,740 feet, set in 1961.
He had been due to jump from 120,000 feet, but the balloon went higher than expected.
The biggest risk Baumgartner faced was spinning out of control, which could have exerted excessive G-force and made him lose consciousness. A controlled dive from the capsule was essential, putting him in a head-down position to increase speed.
As things transpired millions of transfixed viewers around the world looked on as the Austrian started tumbling chaotically for what seemed like an eternity before finally achieving the right position.
Temperatures of minus 68 degrees could also have had unpredictable consequences if his suit somehow failed.
The helmet problem as Baumgartner ascended added to the sense of alarm: the heater failed on his faceplate, meaning it became fogged up when he exhaled.
After considering the options, the nerveless Baumgartner and his team decided to go ahead with the jump.
Mission accomplished. Baumgartner waves to his support team after a safe landing. AFP
Baumgartner holds several previous records, notably with spectacular BASE jumps from the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur and the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
He recalled the emotions sweeping through his body when he stepped out of the capsule over the New Mexico desert.
"When you're standing there on top of the world you become so humble ... The only thing you want is to come back alive," he told reporters in Roswell, where the launch mission was based.
His launch coincided with the 65th anniversary of American pilot Chuck Yeager breaking the speed of sound.
capsule – a pod; a small roundish-shaped container in which people travel แคปซูล
struggle – to try hard to do something that you find very difficult พยายาม
visor – a part of a helmet that can be pulled down to protect the eyes and face กะบังหน้าของหมวก
leap – a large jump การกระโดด
daredevil – a person who enjoys doing dangerous things, in a way that other people may think is stupid คนที่กล้าทำในสิ่งที่เสี่ยงมาก
stratosphere – the layer of the earth's atmosphere between about 10 and 50 kilometres above the surface of the earth ชั้นบนของบรรยากาศ (สูงขึ้นไปจากโลก 10 ไมล์)
sound barrier – the speed at which sound travels
tumble – to fall down ล้ม,ล้มลง,ตกลง,หกคะเมน
shatter – to break into many pieces, in this case, to break a record by a large amount แตกกระจาย
death-defying – extremely dangerous อันตรายมาก
freefall – the movement of an object or a person falling through the air without engine power or a parachute การเคลื่อนไหวของวัตถุหรือบุคคลล้มผ่านอากาศโดยไม่มีเครื่องยนต์หรือร่มชูชีพ
boil – to heat a liquid to the point where it forms bubbles and turns to steam or vapour ทำให้เดือด
slightest – smallest น้อยที่สุด
tear – a hole that has been made in something by tearing (pulling or cutting something apart) การฉีก
crack – a line on a surface where something is beginning to break apart รอยแตก รอยร้าว
pressurised – keeping the air pressure in a submarine, an aircraft, spacesuit, etc. the same as it is on earth รักษาความดันบรรยากาศภายในเครื่องเช่น เครื่องบิน เรือดำน้ำ
instant – immediate ทันที
depressurisation – the loss of pressure
extreme – very great in degree ที่สุด
altitude – height above sea level ความสูงเหนือระดับน้ำทะเล
veteran – a person who has a lot of experience in a particular area or activity ผู้อาวุโส
float – to cause to move slowly in the air or on water ลอย
mission – an important piece of work that a person or a group of people has been given to do ภาระกิจ หน้าที่
erupt – to start suddenly ปะทุขึ้น
spring (past form: sprung) – to move suddenly and with one quick movement in a particular direction กระโดด, สปริงตัว
hoist – to lift something to a higher position ชูขึ้น ยกสูงขึ้น
aloft – in the air เบื้องบน
way – much
20 tonnes have fallen from my shoulders – meaning he feels relieved (โล่งใจ, เบาใจ) after having a lot of pressure (ความกดดัน) on him, light a huge weight on his shoulders (ไหล่)
interview – a meeting (often a public one) at which a journalist asks somebody questions in order to find out their opinions, experiences, etc. การสัมภาษณ์
faulty – not perfectly made or not working correctly ซึ่งมีข้อผิดพลาด
helmet – a strong hard hat that covers and protects the head หมวกกันน็อก
plunge – to fall quickly from a high position ดิ่งลงมาจากท้องฟ้า
abort – to stop before finishing ยกเลิก
glitch - a small problem or fault that prevents something from being successful or working as well as it should ความบกพร่องเล็กน้อย
footage – film or video of a particular subject or event ฟิลม์หรือคลิปภาพยนตร์ หรือวิดีโอ
beam – to send out a an electrical or radio signal, คลื่น
live – happening now, i.e., not recorded earlier ถ่ายทอดสด
crackly – not clear
link – a connection การเชื่อมต่อ
manned – having a person to control or operate something ซึ่งมีคนจัดการ
due to – scheduled to มีกำหนด
risk – the possibility that something dangerous or unpleasant might happen ความเสี่ยง
spin –to turn round and round quickly; to make something do this หมุน
exert – to put force or physical pressure on something ออกแรง
excessive – much greater than is usual; too much of something มากเกินปริมาณที่พอดี
G-force – the force of gravity (แรงดึงดูดของโลก) which increases according to your speed
lose consciousness – to not be awake or aware of where you are, especially as the result of a head injury ไม่รู้สึกตัว, ขาดสติ, ไม่มีสติ
essential – necessary ที่จำเป็น
transpire – to happen เกิดขึ้น
transfix – to make somebody unable to move because they are afraid, surprised, etc. ทำให้นิ่งงัน
chaotic – happening in a confused way and without any order or organisation ยุ่งเหยิง วุ่นวาย
eternity – a period of time that seems to be very long or to never end เวลาที่ยาวนานมาก
temperature – a measurement of how hot or how cold a place or object is อุณหภูมิ
unpredictable – changing often, in a way that is impossible to prepare for ซึ่งทำนายไม่ถูก, ซึ่งคาดไม่ได้
consequences – results of effects of something ผลที่ตามมา
ascend – to go up ขึ้นไป (เสด็จพระราชดำเนินขึ้นสู่)
fog – to cover something in steam or small drops of water so that you cannot see through ทำให้เป็นฝ้ามัว, ปกคลุมไปด้วยหมอก
exhale – to breathe out the air or smoke, etc. in your lungs หายใจออก
consider – to give careful thought to something before making a decision พิจารณา
option – a choice; something that you can choose in a particular situation ทางเลือก
nerveless – without getting nervous or anxious; remaining calm in a very difficult situation สงบ คุมอารมณ์ได้
accomplish – to finish something successfully or to achieve something ทำสำเร็จ
notably – especially; that which is most noticeable; to a great degree อย่างน่าสังเกต, อย่างน่าจดจำ
spectacular - very exciting to look at; extremely impressive น่าตื่นเต้น ที่ตระการตา
recall – to remember จำได้ นึกทบทวน
emotion – strong feeling such as anger or love, or strong feelings in general อารมณ์
humble – showing you do not think that you are as important as other people ต่ำต้อย,อ่อนน้อมถ่อมตน
launch – sending something out, such as a rocket into the air or into space การปล่อย
coincide with – to happen at the same time as something else เกิดขึ้นพร้อมกับ
anniversary – a date when you celebrate something that happened in a previous year that is important to you วันครบรอบ