Google senior vice president Alan Eustace just beat the world record for highest-altitude space jump, The New York Times reports.
A helium-filled balloon carried him to nearly the top of the stratosphere, 135,908 feet — more than 25 miles — above the ground, before he cut himself loose and plunged toward the earth at speeds that peaked at more than 800 miles per hour. Observers on the ground heard a small sonic boom, though Eustace says he did not hear or feel it.
He landed 70 miles from the launch site.
“It was amazing,” he told The Times. “It was beautiful. You could see the darkness of space and you could see the layers of atmosphere, which I’ve never seen before.”
The previous altitude record was set by Austrian Felix Baumgartner, who jumped from 128,100 feet in 2012 as a stunt for Red Bull.
Eustace, who is 57 and has been at Google since 2002, had been planning the jump in secret for nearly three years and working with a small group of technologists specializing in spacesuit design, life-support systems, and parachute and balloon technology. Google did not help fund the jump.
“It was a wild, wild ride,” Eustace told The Times.
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