Daredevil joins the 13-mile-high club as record bid nears


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The Independent US

The skydiver Felix Baumgartner is more than halfway to his goal of setting a world record for the highest jump.

The Austrian lifted off for a test jump from New Mexico aboard a helium balloon. He rode in a pressurised capsule to 13.6 miles, then jumped and landed safely. He is aiming for nearly 23 miles this summer. The record is 19.5 miles. Thursday's jump was a test of his capsule, full-pressure suit, parachutes and other systems.

Mr Baumgartner, 42, hit speeds of up to 364.4mph and was in free fall for three minutes, 43 seconds before pulling his parachute cords. The entire jump lasted 8min 8sec. When he leaps from 120,000ft in a few months, he expects to break the sound barrier as he falls through the stratosphere at supersonic speed.