In 2012, Felix Baumgartner set a world record for skydiving from an altitude of 128,100 feet. We followed his quest to achieve it for years before it actually happened. in contrast, we heard nothing about another man's quest to break the record.
Early this morning, Alan Eustace, a senior vice president at Google, went upon a helium balloon to a height of 135,890 feet above the earth -that over 25 miles! He then cut the balloon away and fell to earth. It took two hours to go up and only 15 minutes to come down.
“It was amazing,” he said. “It was beautiful. You could see the darkness of space and you could see the layers of atmosphere, which I had never seen before.”The life-support equipment Eustace used was developed by Paragon Space Development Corporation. Google had offered support when Eustice first revealed the project to them, but he didn’t want the jump to turn into a marketing event. Read more about the jump at the New York Times. (via Laughing Squid)
Mr. Eustace cut himself loose from the balloon with the aid of a small explosive device and plummeted toward the earth at speeds that peaked at 822 miles per hour, setting off a small sonic boom heard by people on the ground.