Leap of faith: Felix Baumgartner's historic jump from the edge of space
by Laura Domela
October 08, 2012 at 8:39 AM
BASE jumping might just be about to enter the mainstream. What has typically been considered a fringe activity, reserved for thrill seekers and adrenaline junkies, could soon be firmly cemented in the public view. For the uninitiated, BASE jumping is like skydiving, without the plane. Participants throw themselves off bridges, antennae, buildings, cliffs, and well, whatever high object they can find. It's not illegal, "in theory", but as many of the chosen launch spots are public or private property -- or pose a risk to public safety -- gaining access to, or jumping from them, can mean stepping over the legal line.
This otherwise obstreperous activity has largely kept to itself, occasionally popping up in magazines, or YouTube videos, but -- all going well -- on Monday that changes. Serial boundary pusher (of wing suit across the English Channel fame) Felix Baumgartner is set to leap, in the most literal sense of the word, from relative obscurity into the history books. How? By jumping to earth from the edge of space, likely breaking the sound barrier as he does so. How does one go from humble Austrian beginnings to a capsule120,000 feet (about 23 miles) above the Earth's surface?
Image: Red Bull
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