A 57-year-old Google executive broke the world record for the highest-altitude jump on Friday, reaching a peak velocity of a whopping 800 miles an hour during his 135,908-foot fall.
The New York Times first reported on the feat of Alan Eustace, who is a senior vice president at Google, and the U.S. Parachute Association confirmed the record to NBC News. According to the Paragon Space Development Corporation, which worked with Eustace to plan the jump, he ascended into the stratosphere via a helium balloon that rose at 1,000 feet per minute over Roswell, New Mexico. After about two-and-a-half hours, Eustace cut himself loose and plummeted toward Earth from more than 25 miles up. Within 90 seconds he broke the sound barrier. At 18,000 feet he deployed a parachute, and within 15 minutes after cutting the cord he was safely on the ground.
Eustace's daring leap broke the previous record set by Felix Baumgartner, who jumped 127,852 feet in October 2012. "It was amazing," Eustace said, according to the Times. "It was beautiful. You could see the darkness of space and you could see the layers of atmosphere, which I had never seen before." Eustace also became the second person — after Baumgartner — to break the sound barrier outside an aircraft, according to Paragon.
- Julianne Pepitone