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Nation/World

October 15, 2012

Skydiver lands smoothly after daring 24-mile leap

(Continued)

“Our guardian angel will take care of you,” Kittinger radioed to Baumgartner around the 100,000-foot mark, and noted that it was getting “really serious” now.

An hour into the flight, Baumgartner had ascended more than 63,000 feet and had gone through a trial run of the jump sequence that will send him plummeting toward Earth. Ballast was dropped to speed up the ascent.

Kittinger told him, “Everything is in the green. Doing great.”

As Baumgartner ascended in the balloon, so did the number of viewers watching on YouTube. Nearly 7.3 million watched as he sat on the edge of the capsule moments before jumping. After he landed, Red Bull posted a picture of Baumgartner on his knees on the ground to Facebook, generating nearly 216,000 likes, 10,000 comments and more than 29,000 shares in less than 40 minutes.

On Twitter, half the worldwide trending topics had something to do with the jump, pushing past seven NFL football games.

Among the tweets was one from NASA: “Congratulations to Felix Baumgartner and RedBull Stratos on record-breaking leap from the edge of space!”

This attempt marked the end of a five-year road for Baumgartner, a record-setting high-altitude jumper. He already made two preparation jumps in the area, one from 15 miles high and another from 18 miles high. It also was the end of his extreme altitude jumping career; he has promised this will be his final jump.

Baumgartner has said he plans to settle down with his girlfriend and fly helicopters on mountain rescue and firefighting missions in the U.S. and Austria.

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