What's next for "Fearless Felix" jump mission?

(CBS News) Felix Baumgartner, the Austrian skydiver and BASE jumper, who wants to break the sound barrier with his falling body, is still waiting to make that historic jump from space. But the mission in Roswell, N.M., could be in jeopardy.

On Tuesday, for the second time, he had to delay the mission due to the weather. Thursday could be his last chance for a while.

A closer look at "Fearless Felix" and his free fall

The mission looked like a go on Tuesday. Winds calmed after a five-hour delay, and crews pumped helium into the massive balloon, hoping to send Baumgartner, known as "Fearless Felix," into the stratosphere. But one sudden gust cork-screwed the balloon -- its sheer plastic one-tenth as thin as a sandwich bag -- and scrubbed the planned launch.

Whenever Baumgartner's team launches next, they have to get it right. The balloons can only be used once -- and there is only one balloon left.

Baumgartner plans to rise to 120,000 feet, or higher, and jump to Earth. His top speed could reach 700 miles per hour, Mach 1. He would become the first human in free fall to break the sound barrier.

But for the Red Bull Stratos team, this has been a rough week. Two scrapped launches, and more bad weather is expected Wednesday.

Art Thompson, Red Bull Stratos technical project director, said, "I go through a lot of misery because I'm looking at a big image of Felix staring in front of me, so I can only imagine in his mind what he goes through because this is ... a multi-year build-up to get to this point."

"I want to break the speed of sound no matter what it takes," Baumgartner said. "I'm willing to go the extra mile."

Don Day, meteorologist on the launch team, is especially under pressure now. He has just one more chance to pick the right moment to inflate the final balloon.

"This team has persevered from setbacks like this before," Day said. "This is all part of the process. Right now we say there's a good possibility for Thursday, but we're not in a position to make that call right now."

The world's watching and a man's life is on the line. More than setting records, they have to get it right.

Watch Mark Strassmann's full report in the video above.

Comments