News Desk: One of Google’s most senior executives has broken Felix Baumgartner’s record for the highest parachute jump in history – making him the second person to break the sound barrier.
Alan Eustace, whose title at the company is senior vice president of knowledge, successfully jumped from the edge of space at 135,908 feet on Friday evening, reports The Telegraph.
The computer scientist started his journey in a high-altitude, helium-filled balloon, leaving from an abandoned airport in New Mexico.
He started his dive at 135,908 feet – remaining in freefall for about 4.5 minutes, hitting a top speed of 822 mph.
Eustace cut himself loose from the balloon with the aid of a small explosive device and plummeted toward the earth, setting off a small sonic boom heard by observers on the ground.
“’It was a wild, wild ride,” he said.
“It was amazing. It was beautiful. You could see the darkness of space and you could see the layers of atmosphere, which I had never seen before.”
Baumgartner became the first person to break the sound barrier in free fall just two years ago. His dive was from an altitude of 127,852 feet, which at the time also set a new record for highest free-fall parachute jump – a record that Eustace surpassed on Friday.
Eustace had planned his jump in the utmost secrecy, working for almost three years with a small group of technologists and carrying just two GoPro cameras to capture the jump.
The jump is part of a project by Paragon Space Development Corp. and its Stratospheric Explorer team, whose goal is to develop a self-contained commercial spacesuit that would allow people to explore the stratosphere.