The world watched him fall to Earth, but for a moment Felix Baumgartner’s record-breaking leap from the edge of space almost didn’t happen.
As the Austrian ascended to his jump height of 128,000 feet, a commentary blackout was imposed amid fears he wanted to abort the mission, as is revealed for the first time on Sunday in Space Dive.
“Felix was concerned about his face-plate fogging up and as a result jumping blind,” says BBC film-maker Colin Barr, who was first to speak to Baumgartner on landing. “The ground crew were worried he was talking himself into aborting, which is why they cut the communications feed. They wanted to calm him down and get him thinking rationally again.”
The blacked-out commentary is featured in the film as, for the first time, is footage from the five cameras attached to his suit, revealing the violence of the spin he went into.
“He can’t talk, but you can hear his breathing getting faster and heavier. The whole thing was a triumph, but at every key stage it nearly didn’t happen,” says Barr.