In case you were wondering what it looked like firsthand to jump from more than 24 miles in the air and break the speed of sound, just like Austrian skydiver Felix Baumgartner did on Sunday, the first head cam video from the space jump has made its rounds on the Internet.
Baumgartner, 43, became the first skydiver to break the sound barrier, as well as breaking the record for the highest-ever manned balloon ascent and the highest free fall ever. The event was livestreamed on the Red Bull Stratos mission website, and viewed by some eight million people.
"Let me tell you -- when I was standing there on top of the world, you become so humble. You don't think about breaking records anymore, you don't think about gaining scientific data -- the only thing that you want is to come back alive," Baumgartner said during a media conference.
By Monday, another POV video from the camera in the helmet of his 28-pound high-tech suit built by Worcester-based David Clark Co. was released on the Internet. The footage below shows his leap from the balloon 128,100 feet, or 24 miles, above New Mexico, and his free fall descent as a person from Mission Control narrates his speed.
Then, viewers get to experience the spinning sensation Baumgartner underwent in his descent, which he called “brutal.”
“In that situation, when you spin around, it's like hell and you don't know if you can get out of that spin or not,” he said. ''The exit was perfect but then I started spinning slowly. I thought I’d just spin a few times and that would be that, but then I started to speed up.”
According to Baumgartner, the footage shows an error he made during the jump when he began to tumble over after failing to get into a delta position.
“It felt like a flat spin,” he said. “I had a lot of pressure in my head, but I felt I could regain control so we could go after the sound barrier."
“It was really brutal at times. I thought for a few seconds that I’d lose consciousness.”
Baumgartner, however, made the jump happen successfully and managed to control the spin for a steady descent to Earth, as he broke the sound barrier.
"There was a time I really thought I was in trouble. I had to decide to fight all the way down and I finally got stable. That spin became so violent it was hard to know how to get out of it. I was able to get it under control and break the speed of sound. I could feel myself break the speed of sound. I could feel the air building up and then I hit it."