MIAMI (CBS4) – Why not spend a Sunday afternoon freefalling from the edge of outer space?  That’s what Austrian Felix Baumgartner did.

What could he have been thinking after being carried by a balloon twenty four miles into the sky, peeking out of his capsule, and preparing for a plunge like no other?

Amelia Earhart, Magellan, Captain Cook, Robert Scott… history is full of explorers and daredevils who died in their attempts to push the human experience to the barely conceivable.

Many wondered if Baumgartner would join them when he started spinning out of control on his way to  becoming the first human to break the sound barrier under his own power.

He survived, thanks to technology, which played a big role yesterday: in space, with a suit that kept Baumgartner alive and that may change what astronauts wear in the future; and on earth, as people were able to watch the freefall live on their cell phones.

Fans call him “Fearless Felix.”  You could argue his nickname should be “Foolish Felix,” instead.

He’s probably a lot of both, but there’s no doubt he sparked the imagination of kids and thrilled the rest of us.  For that, we owe him thanks.


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