Felix Baumgartner Edge of Space Jump (VIDEO) Full Video
Skydiver Felix Baumgartner landed safely on the ground Sunday after a record-shattering jump from the edge of space.
"He made it -- tears of joy from Mission Control," the team said in a live feed.
Baumgartner left the capsule attached to a huge helium balloon at 128,000 feet -- 24 miles up -- higher than anyone before him.
After an initial free fall, he opened his parachute and glided down to the ground, where he fell to his knees with his fists raised, then stood up, smiling and hugging members of his team.
It may not have been the longest-lasting free fall. Mission Control said during the jump that Baumgartner did not "break the record for time elapsed" before pulling the parachute.
His highest estimated speed on the way down was 729 mph.
"Guardian angels will take care of you," said Mission Control just before he jumped.
"The whole world is watching now," Baumgartner said, before giving a salute and jumping.
Applause broke out in Mission Control when he touched down.
With nothing but a space suit, helmet and parachute, Baumgartner hoped to be the first person to break the sound barrier without the protection of a vehicle.
Even before jumping, he set a record for floating higher in a balloon -- about 24 miles -- than anyone else before.
At that height, more than three times the cruising altitude of an average airliner, the thin air provides so little resistance that after just 40 seconds, he was expected to be free-falling faster than 690 miles per hour.
The Austrian daredevil, dubbed "Fearless Felix," was prepared, having "done the hard work," his coach Andy Walshe told reporters last week.
Baumgartner ascended steadily in a capsule hanging from a helium balloon. Then he opened the hatch, climbed out, jumped off the step with a bunny hop, and formed a crouched "delta" position to maximize his acceleration.
The plan: to fall most of the way in less than five minutes, then deploy a parachute for the final 5,000 feet to earth.
The attempt has serious risks. He and his team have practiced how he can avoid getting trapped in a dangerous "horizontal spin." His life will also depend on the integrity of his pressure suit, since temperatures could hit 70 degrees below zero Fahrenheit or lower, and the atmosphere will be so thin that his blood would vaporize if he were unprotected.
If he loses consciousness during the five-minute plunge, he will survive only if his parachute deploys automatically.
Another unknown: the effects on the body of breaking the sound barrier. While reaching such speeds can cause stress on an aircraft, planners for this jump believe there will be little effect on Baumgartner because he will be at an altitude at which there is so little air that shock waves are barely transmitted.