No supersonic skydive for Baumgartner tomorrow

The wait will drag on for daredevil Felix Baumgartner, as his attempt at a breathtaking, record-setting freefall continues to be bedeviled by the weather.

Felix Baumgartner
Felix Baumgartner strikes a contemplative pose after the launch mission was aborted this morning. Red Bull Stratos

Felix Baumgartner will not attempt his stratospheric skydive tomorrow.

Weather conditions continue to be less than ideal for the mission, in which Baumgartner plans to set several records -- most dramatically, becoming the first person ever to fly, or in this case freefall, at supersonic speed without the protection of an aircraft fuselage around him. In making the attempt, if all were to go according to plan, he also would make the highest manned ascent with a balloon (120,000 feet, or just under 23 miles) to get to his jumping-off point, and the longest sustained freefall (an estimated 5 minutes, 35 seconds).

This morning's attempt was scrubbed at 10:42 a.m. PT because of gusty winds. That followed a five-hour delay past the planned 5:30 a.m. scheduled start time as the Red Bull Stratos team tried to find a favorable break in the weather. At the time the mission was aborted, Baumgartner was in the pressurized capsule in which he was to ascend, and the massive balloon was partially filled. The original launch date for the attempt was yesterday morning.

It remains to be seen when conditions in and around the Roswell, N.M., launch site will take a turn for the better. Red Bull Stratos tweeted this update just a short while ago:

The plans for the supersonic freefall date back a number of years, and at one point the jump had been planned for sometime in 2010. The technical challenges notwithstanding, it was a legal dispute that shut things down back then.

Baumgartner, 43, is a veteran of more than 2,000 skydives, often in extreme settings -- off skyscrapers, bridges, and even Rio de Janeiro's famed Christ the Redeemer statue.

Felix Baumgartner
Baumgartner's stratospheric balloon, semi-inflated, was stretched across the tarmac when the mission is aborted today. Red Bull Stratos

About the author

Jonathan Skillings is managing editor of CNET News, based in the Boston bureau. He's been with CNET since 2000, after a decade in tech journalism at the IDG News Service, PC Week, and an AS/400 magazine. He's also been a soldier and a schoolteacher, and will always be a die-hard fan of jazz, the brassier the better.

 

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