Posted: Oct 09, 2012 02:37 pm EDT (Newsdesk/UPDATED) "The next time we talk, I'm going to be the person who has the 2nd highest parachute jump in the world," said Joe Kittinger at Weather Brief this morning.
His apprentice, Austrian Felix Baumgartner is ready to launch. UPDATED: the mission was just aborted for gusty winds.
Felix will ascend in a helium balloon to an altitude of 120,000 ft/36,576 m and jump out of his capsule trying to become the first person to break the speed of sound (1 Mach - 768 mph at sea level - around 1000kmh/600+ mph on flight altitude) during freefall.
The skydiver already reached 536mph/863kph in training. To imagine the speed: compare to average flight speed for a commercial airliner at 500 mph.
As for the altitude, the Kármán line, at 62 miles (100 km) above sea level, is conventionally used as the start of space. But space for man usually starts at 62000 ft (19 km) says test pilot, balloon pioneer and Felix's mentor Joe Kittinger, "above that the blood boils and without a pressure suit you die very quickly."