Felix Baumgartner is scheduled to become the first human being to complete a skydive from the edge of space, but weather delays means he won't be doing it just yet.
Austrian skydiver Felix Baumgartner is set to make history, but it will have to wait a few days. He is planning to make the first human space jump; a skydive from near the edge of space that will send him hurdling towards earth from an altitude of at least 37 km; nearly four times higher than the altitude of passenger jets. During the jump, he will reach speeds exceeding Mach 1, becoming the first human being to break the sound barrier without artificial propulsion. The jump will take approximately ten minutes to complete.
The jump was originally scheduled for a launch from Roswell Air Center in New Mexico yesterday at 14.30 GMT. Unfortunately, the wind conditions at the air center delayed the launch several times. Eventually, a small window opened, but mechanical problems delayed them further, until the wind yet again picked up. Thus, nearly ten hours later, the jump was scrapped until a later date.
The reason wind played such a big part in the jump was that Baumgartner would be carried to the altitude using a massive balloon, the size of which made it very susceptible to being pushed around by gusts. Getting the balloon to rise in anything but the calmest of conditions was simply not possible. Suspended from the balloon was a capsule, similar in appearance to the space capsules which have been straddling rockets since the beginning of the space age.
Baumgartner, leaving the capsule after the launch cancellation
Baumgartner himself had donned a futuristic looking space suit; quite similar to those which are used by NASA, but covered in sponsorship patches from Red Bull, who are financing the endeavour. The suit will keep him warm, breathing, and most importantly alive, during the capsule's rise and his subsequent jump.
Though no new time has been scheduled; when the jump actually does happen you'll be able to watch it live, right here: http://www.redbullstratos.com/live/