After enduring a five-hour delay caused by wind, Felix Baumgartner sat poised in the space capsule, ready to be hoisted by a balloon 23 miles above Roswell, New Mexico, for his long-anticipated skydiving attempt from the edge of space.
But then came more gusts, which tore at the thin white stratospheric balloon, and the Red Bull Stratos mission was aborted at 11:45 a.m. Mountain Daylight Time.
A new launch date has not yet been announced.
Baumgartner, 43, had hoped Tuesday would be the day seven years of planning would pay off; that he’d make history with a jump from 120,000 feet above earth, and become the first skydiver to break the sound barrier.
The altitude record belongs to Joe Kittinger, who in 1960 completed a successful jump from 102,800 feet.
Baumgartner, visible in a live feed on the mission homepage, looked dejected as the call was made by Mike Jacobs to abort the launch. The Austrian daredevil had been up since predawn preparing for the mission. “It’s all about what we do now and accomplish now,” he said afterward. “We’ve made it so far, there’s no way turning back.”
His epic skydive, whenever it occurs, will mark the culmination of the Red Bull Stratos project, which involves a team of scientists who have been gathering information about space suit design and safety that might prove helpful for next-generation astronauts.
Baumgartner has already made practice jumps from 71,580 and 97,146 feet, in March and July, respectively.