Attempted stratospheric balloon jumper no stranger to dares

Posted at: 10/09/2012 10:09 PM
Updated at: 10/10/2012 10:37 AM
By: Adam Camp, KOB Eyewitness News 4

Felix Baumgartner
Felix Baumgartner

Weather has delayed Felix Baumgartner's attempt at a world record of falling 23 miles from the earth's surface in Roswell.

Baumgartner said he hopes the weather will cooperate later this week.

He is no stranger to dares. He holds records to jumping from the highest building, completing the lowest base jump. He even flew across the English Channel in a carbon fibre delta wing strapped to his back. He is also the only person to outrace a plane with the carbon fibre delta wing.

All those feats included the chances of death. But trying to break the sound barrier will put Baumgartner in his closest look at death, yet.

He could travel at or above 690 miles per hour. And at the height where he will fall, the temperature will be between -40 and -70 degrees Fahrenheit.

Baumgartner has a pressurized suit with the best equipment possible to protect him from the elements. But if any of the equipment fails, one meteorologist said things could get messy.

"That (low tempteratures) alone would kill him pretty quick. And there's other things like the lack of oxygen or the lack of air, you cannot survive at that level of the atmosphere," said National Weather Service senior meteorologist, Chuck Jones.

Baumgartner's lungs could collapse and his blood could boil, according to his Redbull Stratos team, due to the lack of pressure and oxygen at the heights where he will fall.

But not everything would kill him. He could pass out from vertigo. But that would not help his chances of survival, either.

"If he's tumbling over and over like that, it might be hard for the chute to open and he could get tangled up in it. Chances are if something happens like that, it's going to be difficult for him to survive," Jones said.

Baumgartner's team has been preparing for this moment over the last five years, and they expect anything that could happen, Baumgartner will handle everything with ease.

> Red Bull Stratos mission postponed due to wind