Winds force Austrian to delay edge-of-space leap
By Michael Thurston, AFP
October 11, 2012, 12:11 am TWN
LOS ANGELES -- Strong winds forced Austrian daredevil Felix Baumgartner to abort his attempt Tuesday at a record-breaking leap to Earth from the edge of space.
A new bid could be made later this week, a spokeswoman said, but everything depends on the weather, and the mission has only one spare balloon, after the first one was rendered unusable by the canceled launch.
The 5-minute countdown had begun ticking down as the veteran sky diver prepared to hurl himself from a pressurized capsule 120,000 feet (37,000 meters) above sea level in the U.S. state of New Mexico.
But as the clock reached zero, it became clear that conditions were too gusty to go ahead with the attempt.
The huge, gossamer-thin balloon which was to have taken Baumgartner aloft was buffeted mercilessly by the winds at the launch site in Roswell, New Mexico.
“Today's launch has been aborted ... due to wind gusts making an attempt too risky,” read a statement on the Red Bull Stratos mission's website.
Baumgartner looked visibly disappointed as he climbed out of the capsule, but said he was determined to go through with the mission.
“It's all about what we do now and accomplish now,” he wrote in a message on the mission's Twitter feed.
“We've made it so far, there's no way turning back,” he said.