An Austrian daredevil named Felix Baumgartner plans to leap from the edge of space today, setting numerous records as he breaks the speed of sound while free-falling head first above the US state of New Mexico. The 43-year-old has been training for five years for the jump, during which he will be in free-fall for some five minutes before opening a parachute at 5,000 feet up to float back to the ground. Felix Baumgartner will ascend to 120,000 feet — nearly 23 miles, or 36 km — in a capsule taken up to the edge of the stratosphere by a gigantic helium balloon, before stepping out in a pressurized suit to fall back to earth. He must go that high to reduce the air resistance so he can break the speed of sound. Once he come closer to Earth he will actually slow down due to the air resistance and slow down to the terminal velocity speeds that we are all used to hearing about. We wish Felix Baumgartner the best of luck as he tries to become the first skydiver to break speed of sound! If all goes as planned he will reach an estimated 690 miles (1,110 kilometers) per hour! You can find out more about the jump by visiting the Red Bull Stratos website here. You can also get updates through the Red Bull Stratos twitter account here. The live stream is linked and is on now!
UPDATE: Felix is ascending at an average rate of 1,000 ft per minute.