8M flock to YouTube for Baumgartner's edge-of-space leap

More than 8 million viewers tune in to the video-sharing site to witness historic high-altitude jump.

YouTube's live stream of the space jump.

The world turned in droves to YouTube to watch Felix Baumgartner's daring stratospheric skydive Sunday morning.

At peak viewership, the video-sharing site's live stream of the high-altitude jump attracted more than 8 million viewers. Interest was especially intense during the last stages of egress before Baumgartner jumped from approximately 128,000 feet.

Baumgartner was attempting to set four records: the fastest freefall (an unprecedented Mach 1), the longest sustained freefall, a free fall from the highest-ever starting point, and the highest ascent in a manned balloon.

Update October 14 at 12:22 p.m. PT: With Baumgartner back on the ground, the word is that the unofficial top speed recorded by Baumgartner's Red Bull Stratos team was 1,137 kilometers per hour, or 706 miles per hour. The team's expectation was that 690 mph would be sufficient to get Baumgartner to Mach 1. He seems clearly to have set a record for the highest manned balloon flight and the highest freefall, having jumped from at altitude of 128,097 feet.

Update October 15 at 9:42 a.m. PT: We tweaked the story to reflect YouTube's updated viewership number: more than 8 million concurrent live streams. Also, Red Bull Stratos later revised its estimate of Baumgartner's top speed upward to 1,342.8 km/h, or 834.4 mph.

About the author

Steven Musil is the night news editor at CNET News. Before joining CNET News in 2000, Steven spent 10 years at various Bay Area newspapers.

 

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