(Reuters) - A skydiving Google executive is safely back on Earth after jumping out of a giant balloon floating in the stratosphere more than 25 miles (40 km) above
New Mexico, a feat that broke the sound barrier and
shattered a world altitude record.
Alan Eustace, a senior
vice president at the Mountain View, California-based company, was
lifted up 135,890 feet (41,419 meters) by an enormous balloon shortly
before dawn on Friday, the Paragon Space Development Corp said.
spending about 30 minutes "experiencing the wonders of the
stratosphere," he plunged toward the earth, the company, which designed
his custom-made pressurized spacesuit and life support system, said on
jump topped a record set by Austrian daredevil Felix Baumgartner over
New Mexico on Oct. 14, 2012 after he jumped from a height of 128,100
feet (39,045 meters).
remained in a free fall for about 4.5 minutes before landing safely
nearly 70 miles from his launch point, setting a world record for the
highest skydive and breaking the sound barrier in the process.
rapid free-fall, Alan experienced a short period of near weightlessness
and within 90 seconds exceeded the speed of sound," Paragon said on its
He landed on the ground just 15 minutes after he was lifted into the air.
Eustace, who has worked with Google since 2002, is a pilot and skydiver, Paragon said.
always wondered: what if you could design a system that would allow
humans to explore the stratosphere as easily and safely as they do the
ocean?" Eustace is quoted as saying on the space development company's