Inside supersonic skydiver's secret training grounds

Inside supersonic skydiver's secret training grounds »Play Video
This image provided by Red Bull Stratos shows pilot Felix Baumgartner of Austria as he jumps out of the capsule during the final manned flight for Red Bull Stratos on Sunday, Oct. 14, 2012.

TAFT, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) — In a giant leap from more than 24 miles up, a daredevil skydiver shattered the sound barrier Sunday while making the highest jump ever — a tumbling, death-defying plunge from a balloon to a safe landing in the New Mexico desert.

Felix Baumgartner hit Mach 1.24, or 833.9 mph, according to preliminary data, and became the first man to reach supersonic speed without traveling in a jet or a spacecraft after hopping out of a capsule that had reached an altitude of 128,100 feet above the Earth.

For the last four years, Baumgartner conducted secretive jump training in Kern County, at Skydive Taft.

"We were taking him up, Felix up, to about (25,000 or) 35,000 feet, and he was jumping out in his suit, and they were testing the parachute, how it was going to deploy, how the suit was going to function," Skydive Taft owner Dave Chrouch said. "Finally, they kind of got everything situated to where they were ready to make the jump this year."
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Associated Press information used in this report.