The highest-ever and fastest-ever jump has not only broken height and speed records for skydiving and manned balloon flight. It also broke records elsewhere. On YouTube, the live coverage of Felix Baumgartner’s near-space jump (23 miles or 39 kilometers high) and supersonic skydiving stunt as part of the Red Bull Stratos project garnered 8 million concurrent views from around the world.
The professional daredevil reached extreme heights last Sunday, October 14, 2012 flying a helium balloon to near-space in an attempt to break several records. As of this jump, Baumgartner has broken the skydiving altitude record (128,000 feet) and speed record (834 MPH or Mach 1.24). Baumgartner was unable to break the longest free fall time record held by Joseph Kittinger, his mentor and mission controller for Red Bull Stratos.
YouTube has not confirmed these figures, although an offiical announcement might soon come. A few world events have garnered the same level of attention, including the first presidential debate of 2012 (“millions of live streamed views”) and the 2012 London Olympics (“more than half a million livestreams”). But it seems the space-jump was deemed more interesting by worldwide viewers.
It can be noted that Baumgartner also posted updates on Twitter through his mission (except during free-fall, of course).
Kudos to the Red Bull Stratos team for a successful jump. This proves not only that humans can do a free-fall from such a height, but also that folks from around the world can be part of a significant event in human achievement through the Internet and social media. This also proves that YouTube can now be a medium for broadcasting to such a significant audience, and that Google’s infrastructure can handle it.