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Jump from edge of space at 90K feet canceled

Monday, July 23, 2012

We have an update on an Austrian daredevil's freefall attempt from the edge of space. Bad weather has forced a delay in today's scheduled jump.

Thundershowers and thick cloud cover forced today's scrub. Mission managers waited as long as they could, and though there was a beautiful sunrise there, the weather would just not cooperate. Launching through storms and clouds creates potential for lightning damage to the capsule and severe turbulence.

Felix Baumgartner is attempting to float in a helium filled balloon up to near the edge of space -- 90,000 feet. It would be the second highest jump ever.

The record is 102,000 feet and Baumgartner is trying to beat that record in August, this being a prep jump for that.

Those in charge of the mission say they'd rather wait for conditions that are more conducive to mission success.

"We did everything we could today to try to wait it out but ultimately it came down to an unsafe situation. It was going to be unsafe for the launch team. It was going to be an unsafe for Felix," said Don Day, Red Bull Stratos meteorologist.

So at 90,000 feet Baumgartner will leap from the capsule once they get him up there. He did it March to the lower altitude but this time he'll reach over 500 miles per hour during his descent, that happening in just the first 20 seconds after he begins his freefall.

Red Bull is sponsoring this jump but folks here say this is not by any means a stunt. They are looking at some serious scientific research here. They are hoping that the data that they generate here can help in future designs of astronauts space suits and also procedures they might use to save astronauts in case of emergencies.

Weather permitting, they will try to jump tomorrow.

ABC13 reporter Kevin Quinn will be at the jump and will have live reports on Eyewitness News.

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