Winds again prevent death-defying leap high above Roswell, N.M.
ROSWELL, N.M. — Blame it on the wind. Again.
For the second consecutive day, extreme athlete Felix Baumgartner aborted his planned death-defying 23-mile free fall because of the weather — postponing at least until Thursday his quest to become the world's first supersonic skydiver.
As he sat Tuesday morning in the pressurized capsule waiting for a 55-story, ultra-thin helium balloon to fill and carry him into the stratosphere, a 25-mph gust rushed across a field near the airport in Roswell, N.M.
The wind rushed so fast that it spun the still-inflating balloon as if it was a giant plastic grocery bag, raising concerns at mission control about whether the balloon was damaged.
The balloon is so delicate that it can take off only if winds are 2 mph or below on the ground.
“Not knowing if the winds would continue or not, we made the decision to pull the plug,” mission technical director Art Thompson said.
Baumgartner's team said he has a second balloon and intends to try again.
Thompson said the earliest the team could take another shot would be Thursday because of weather and the need for the crew — which worked all night Monday — to get some rest.
The cancellation was made a day after organizers postponed takeoff because of high winds. They scheduled Tuesday's for 6:30 a.m.
When winds died down, Baumgartner, 43, suited up and entered the capsule. Crews began filling the balloon.
The team's discovery that it had lost one of two radios in the capsule and a problem with the capsule delayed the decision to begin filling the balloon, pushing the mission close to a noon cutoff for launch.
The free fall should provide scientists with valuable information for next-generation spacesuits and techniques that could help astronauts survive accidents.
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments â either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.