UPDATE: The Felix Baumgartner space jump was cancelled at 1:42 p.m. ET due to "gusty winds."
Tuesday marks the day extreme skydiver “Fearless” Felix Baumgartner will embark on his attempt to complete a record-breaking space jump with a dive nearly 23 miles above the Earth. Viewers can watch the attempt live on video, thanks to a live stream sponsorship by Red Bull.
Baumgartner, 43, plans to make the free-fall jump from the edge of space at 120,000 feet in the air, wearing nothing but a space suit and helmet. His goals? To break the record of the highest altitude ever jumped by man and to break the sound barrier before landing in New Mexico.
The jump will be livestreamed by Red Bull at the Mission to the Edge of Space landing page, or embedded below.
According to Baumgartner, Tuesday’s space jump could be the world's highest free-fall, surpassing a 52-year-old record set by U.S. Air Force Colonel Joe Kittinger in 1960 at 102,800. Mentored by Kittinger, Baumgartner’s other goal is to become the first person to break the speed of sound without the protection of an aircraft, wearing just a space suit.
The space jump, scheduled for dawn in Roswell, N.M., is contingent on the weather. Baumgartner will ascend in a giant helium balloon for about two hours before plunging headfirst at speeds over 700 miles per hour in 40 seconds as air provides virtually no resistance. Baumgartner said he will fall 115,00 feet in less than five minutes, deploy a parachute for the final 5,000 feet and then land right where he started in New Mexico. All in 10 minutes.
The space jump, Baumgartner noted, is risky for various reasons, namely the effect on the body when breaking the sound barrier. Dangerous “horizontal spins” can also be problematic as well as tears to his spacesuit and a lack of oxygen in temperatures as low as 70 degrees below zero Fahrenheit (-55 degrees Celsius).
But this isn’t “Fearless Felix's” first extreme jump.
“All of my life I have been looking for unique goals, things no one has accomplished,” Baumgartner told the New York Times.
Baumgartner set the record for the highest B.A.S.E. jump from a building in 1999 at 1,479 feet off the Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, as well as the lowest B.A.S.E. jump the same year off the Christ Statue in Rio de Janeiro, Brasil. Then, in 2003, he became the first to cross the English Channel by skydiving across the waterway. In 2007, Baumgartner jumped into the "Seating of the Spirits" in Oman, the second biggest cave in the world, as well as the world's tallest building, Taipei's 101 Tower, at 1,669.95-feet tall.
"I'm not nuts," Baumgartner told CNN in 2010. "You know, our records are meant to be broken, and I'm a very competitive person. I like the challenge."