Felix Baumgartner’s jump from 39 kilometers above earth made headlines across the world, and it also smashed records for an online audience.
Felix Baumgartner stood alone at the edge of space, and 39 kilometers below him, millions of people were right there with him, watching on the Internet and marveling at the wonder of the moment.
Baumgartner, a 43-year-old Austrian, hit Mach 1.24, or 833.9 mph (1,342 kph), according to preliminary data, and became the first person to reach supersonic speed without traveling in a jet or a spacecraft.
The capsule he jumped from had reached an altitude of 128,100 feet (39,000 meters) above Earth, carried by a 55-story ultra-thin helium balloon.
About half of Baumgartner’s nine-minute descent was a free fall of 119,846 feet (36,529 meters), according to Brian Utley, a jump observer from the FAI, an international group that works to determine and maintain the integrity of aviation records.
Large online audience
After Baumgartner landed, his sponsor, Red Bull, posted a picture to Facebook of him kneeling on the ground. It generated nearly 216,000 likes, 10,000 comments and more than 29,000 shares in less than 40 minutes.
On Twitter, half the worldwide trending topics had something to do with the jump. Among them was this tweet from NASA: “Congratulations to Felix Baumgartner and RedBull Stratos on record-breaking leap from the edge of space!”
The event happened without a network broadcast in the United States, though organizers said more than 40 television stations in 50 countries – including cable’s Discovery Channel in the U.S. – carried the live feed.
Instead, millions flocked online, drawing more than 8 million simultaneous views to a YouTube live stream at its peak, YouTube officials said.
More than 130 digital outlets carried the live feed, organizers said.
South African traffic spike
Shortly after his jump traffic normalized, as shown in the graph below.
–Additional reporting by MyBroadband