“I am strapped into the capsule, and I am ready to go,” Felix Baumgartner told Mission Control moments before a giant helium balloon was to take him 23 miles above the New Mexican desert for a record-breaking jump.
At 11:42 a.m. local time in Roswell, New Mexico, everything came to a halt. The winds picked up and made a launch impossible. The Austrian skydiver stepped out of his space capsule with his head hanging low.
Baumgartner was clearly disappointed, but not defeated.
“I want to break the speed of sound no matter what it takes. I am willing to go the extra mile,” Baumgartner said, according to a post on the Red Bull Stratos Twitter Feed.
For a safe launch, winds not only have to be calm on the ground, but also at the top of the balloon 700 feet above the ground. This is to prevent the capsule from getting knocked around. Any damage to the capsule or the balloon (which is 10 times thinner than a plastic sandwich bag) would seriously compromise the mission.
The next open weather window comes this Sunday. If Mother Nature behaves, Baumgartner will embark on his three-hour ride to 120,000 feet above Earth at 8 a.m. EDT.
We’ll be liveblogging the whole event, again. We pray it’s not another bust — for the Austrian’s sake and ours.
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