Skydiver lands safely after historic jump from edge of space

Baumgartner Balloon Miles Space

Skydiver Felix Baumgartner landed safely on the ground Sunday after a record-shattering free fall from the edge of space.

"He made it -- tears of joy from Mission Control," the team said in a live feed.

Baumgartner left the capsule attached to a huge helium balloon at 128,000 feet -- 24 miles up.

After an initial free fall, he opened his parachute and glided down to the ground, where he smiling and hugging members of his team.

His mother, watching from Mission Control, had tears in her eyes.

With nothing but a space suit, helmet and parachute, Baumgartner hoped to be the first person to break the sound barrier without the protection of a vehicle.

Even before jumping, he set a record for floating higher in a balloon -- about 24 miles -- than anyone else before.

At that height, more than three times the cruising altitude of an average airliner, the thin air provides so little resistance that after just 40 seconds, he was expected to be free-falling faster than 690 miles per hour.

The Austrian daredevil, dubbed "Fearless Felix," was prepared, having "done the hard work," his coach Andy Walshe told reporters last week.

Baumgartner ascended steadily in a capsule hanging from a helium balloon. Then he opened the hatch, climbed out, jumped off the step with a bunny hop, and formed a crouched "delta" position to maximize his acceleration ( via ).

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