Space Jumper Felix Baumgartner Admits His Biggest Pre-Jump Fear
The 43-year-old skydiver, who completed a 24-mile jump last Sunday, called the first moment he saw Earth below "overwhelming" in an interview with "CBS This Morning."
Felix Baumgartner made history last Sunday when he successfully completed a 24-mile (or 128,000 ft.) jump from the edge of space.
Now, the Austrian skydiver is opening up about his experience, and on Friday took part in his first nationally televised interview on CBS This Morning to discuss what he called a moment he called "overwhelming."
Baumgartner reminisced about the moment he opened the hatch door to reveal Earth below. "It is overwhelming," he told CBS News correspondent Ben Tracy. "I mean, that view, and also the fact that when you're standing there, there's not a single person on the whole planet who has experienced this moment. It's unique."
After Baumgartner leapt to begin his descent to Earth, viewers live-streaming or tuning into their TVs saw the 43-year-old -- who has raced an airplane and jumped off the tallest buildings in the world -- start to tumble through the sky. The feeling wasn't pleasant -- and Baumgartner said he had to find an answer quickly.
"It starts ramping up, really violent, and then I knew, now I have to come up with something and I had to find a solution," Baumgartner said. "I only had 40 seconds, because then it's all over."
Baumgartner, who broke several records including breaking the speed of sound, recalled having no real indication of how fast he was traveling. "In the beginning, because the air is so thin, you don't have that noise, so you have almost no sensation of speed. You know you're fast, but you don't feel it," he said, adding later that "it means a lot" that he was the one to create "the only supersonic boom" from a human.
And while Baumgartner's nickname, "Fearless Felix," is appropriate for what was accomplished, he admitted that fear still creeped in prior to making the jump. "You would not be human if you would not have fear up there. If something goes wrong, you're dead in 15 seconds," Baumgartner said.
The thing that freaked Baumgartner out the most? Having to stay in the pressure suit for more than seven hours.
Baumgartner's jump, which took five years of planning, has been seen on YouTube more than 52 million times.
Watch the full interview below: