Skydiver aims for supersonic plunge on Oct. 8

Skydiver aims for supersonic plunge on Oct. 8
In this Sept. 24, 2012 photo, a crew member adjusts the space capsule of the Red Bull Stratos mission in the pressure chamber at Brooks Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas. Skydiver Felix Baumgartner Baumgartner will attempt to go supersonic when he jumps from the capsule at a record altitude of 23 miles over New Mexico. On Tuesday, Sept. 25, 2012 project managers announced the jump is scheduled for Oct. 8, 2012. (AP Photo/Red Bull, Garth Milan)

(AP)—The countdown is on for skydiver Felix Baumgartner. In just two weeks, the Austrian parachutist will attempt to go supersonic when he jumps from a record altitude of 23 miles (37 kilometers) over the U.S.

Baumgartner expects to reach a top speed of 690 mph (1,110 kph) and break the sound barrier with only his body.

Project managers announced Tuesday the attempt will take place Oct. 8, a delay from August.

"I feel like a tiger in a cage waiting to get out," Baumgartner, 43, said in a statement.

He jumped from 18 miles (29 kilometers) in July. This time, he hopes to break the all-time record of 19.5 miles (31 kilometers) set in 1960.

Baumgartner's capsule was damaged in the latest practice jump and had to be repaired and retested. A giant helium balloon will lift the pressurized capsule with Baumgartner inside, dressed in a pressure suit.

Project officials note that excellent weather will be needed for the October launch. Early fall is generally an optimal time for such endeavors.

The flight will be monitored by a NASA-like Mission Control, though the effort is privately funded by the energy drink maker Red Bull. One team leader is record-holder Joe Kittinger, who was a U.S. Air Force captain when he took part in the record-setting military high-jump project decades ago.


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