Everybody loves a hero. Red Bull has strengthened an international brand with a story that has captivated the world by sponsoring one of the most extreme feats of human achievement ever attempted with Red Bull Stratos – Mission to the Edge of Space.
Felix Baumgartner, a 43 year old Austrian veteran skydiver was yesterday the first man to break the sound barrier outside an aircraft in an unprecedented heart-thumping freefall jump from the edge of space. Leaping from a capsule 39 kilometers (24 miles) above the earth and reaching top speeds of 1,342 kilometers (833.9 miles) per hour, he plummeted towards the ground at 1.24 times the speed of sound.
Baumgartner was in freefall for a total of 4 minutes and 20 seconds, and broke 3 world records including the highest jump from a platform (128,100 feet), longest distance freefall (119,846 feet), and maximum vertical velocity (Mach 1.24, or 833.9 mph).
The energy drink brand is well known for sponsoring extreme atheletes and events such as the Red Bull Air Race, and Red Bull themselves state that the stunt was the biggest piece of activity they have undertaken this year. Promotion has been heavy across Red Bull websites and social media, resulting in YouTube breaking their own record of having over 8 million concurrent livestream viewers of the mission worldwide as people took to their laptops, tablets and phones to watch the epic event.
Twitter reportedly had over 3.1 million tweets sent relating to the event. “Start the cameras and our guardian angel will take care of you,” said Col. Joe Kittinger on the Red Bull Stratos Twitter feed before Baumgartner leapt away from the space capsule. After a heart-stopping period where Baumgartner seemed to be tumbling over and over, he touched the ground safely with a perfect landing, coming to rest on his knees in celebration of the extraordinary accomplishment of the entire Red Bull Stratos team.
“One of the most exciting moments was standing out on top of the world, 30 seconds before stepping off,” Baumgartner said. “It was really brutal at times. I thought for a few seconds that I’d lost consciousness. I didn’t feel a sonic boom because I was so busy just trying to stabilize myself… It was really a lot harder than I though it was going to be.”
For more information, go to the Red Bull Stratos Mission website.