News Corp.’s National Geographic Channel will air a special program on Felix Baumgartner’s world-record jump yesterday that broke the sound barrier and set a new mark for live YouTube viewing.
“Space Dive,” a co-production of National Geographic, the BBC and Red Bull Media House, will air in November, combining footage from the jump with behind-the-scenes training video for the privately financed effort, Washington-based Nat Geo said today in an e-mailed statement.
Baumgartner’s jump, called the Red Bull Stratos Mission, was planned for four years and set records for altitude, longest free fall and speed. The feat drew 8 million live streams, a new high for Google Inc.’s YouTube. National Geographic cameras from the ground and specially designed cameras by Red Bull captured the ascent from Roswell, New Mexico, the jump and the descent.
“While the project itself is obviously groundbreaking, our exclusive inside access adds unique insight and perspective into this four-year journey, and is sure to thrill our viewers,” Michael Cascio, executive vice president of programming at National Geographic Channel, said in the statement. The channel is 70 percent owned by News Corp., with a 30 percent stake held by a unit of the National Geographic society.
Baumgartner, 43, was carried up to the edge of space in a capsule lifted by a 55-story helium balloon. He jumped from 120,000 feet, or about 24 miles, and free-fell for 119,846 feet, reaching 833.9 miles per hour, or Mach 1.24, according to the statement.
“Space Dive” aims to show how a team of medical, science and engineering experts designed and built the equipment needed to get Baumgartner up and back safely, according to the National Geographic statement.
Before Baumgartner, two men died in attempts to break records held by U.S. Colonel Joe Kittinger since August 1960. Kittinger, 83, was one of the experts who trained Baumgartner.