Video: Skydiving from the edge of space

Basejumper Felix Baumgartner will attempt to break the speed of sound by freefalling from the edge of space, nearly 23 miles up, above Roswell

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The Independent Online

Austrian adventurer Felix Baumgartner is preparing to break the record for the highest ever parachute jump by freefalling from the edge of space.

Engineers have carried out the final tests on a special pressurised suit and balloon capsule that will protect Baumgartner as he climbs to (and falls from) a staggering 23 miles above the ground.

At such an altitude, pressure becomes so low that water turns to vapour, and should either the capsule or his suit fail, the jumper's blood would literally boil.

Other dangers include Baumgartner going into a spin while falling, resulting him being unable to deploy his parachute, and intense heat building up due to friction between his suit and the air as he passes through it at record-breaking speed.

If he pulls off his attempt, Baumgartner will break the record set by US Air Force Command Pilot Colonel Joseph Kittinger, who jumped from 19 miles up in 1960.

He hopes to complete the jump at some point this year.

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