Baumgartner jumped from 24.5 miles above the earth. He’s not in space, but he’s so high that everything above him is black. There’s so little resistance, because there’s so little air, that he goes supersonic, topping out over 800 miles an hour in freefall. He is the first and, so far, only human to break the sound barrier without being inside of a vehicle.
In the days leading up to the jump, the biggest caution – of all of the cautions associated with jumping from the edge of space and crossing Mach 1 without a plane – was that if he was even slightly off balance he’d go into a flat spin. And from there, he’d probably blackout and likely die.
As the video shows, he did go into a flat spin and he does tell ground control that he feels like he “has to pass out”. But he pulls out if it and lands safely.
This video is beautiful. It’s terrifying. It’s vertigo-inducing. It is raw courage.