Soon-to-be record-breaking skydiver makes test jump

Posted by Raven Lovecraft

Everything is set for daredevil Felix Baumgartner to set a world record that has stood for more than 50 years.

Baumgartner will be jumping from 23 miles above the Earth's surface in the space over New Mexico, in a scientifically sophisticated project sponsored by Red Bull.

But before he can do that, the daring man, who has already made thousands - yes, thousands - of successful jumps from planes, helicopters, and pretty much anything that's up in the sky, had to perform a test jump.

That test was a success. Baumgartner survived a plunge from 71,581 feet in the air, high enough for him to ensure that his custom suit would be able to withstand the atmospheric pressure that becomes problematic for unprotected humans at around 63,000 feet.

"The height of Felix's test flight was significant, as it was the first time he passed the Armstrong Line of approximately 63,000 feet, where the atmospheric pressure truly tests Felix's custom-made space suit," the Baumgartner team said in a statement.

So, that means everything is still on schedule for July, when he plans to make the incredible 120,000-foot jump.

Baumgartner already set a new personal record with his test jump. Previously, his highest jump was only from 30,000 feet high.

But when he makes his official Red Bull-sponsored jump in the summer, Baumgartner will go down in history. And that will be quite an impressive accomplishment. The current world record for highest successful skydive was set by an Air Force pilot named Joe Kittinger, who jumped from 102,800 feet. That was in 1960.