On this day in 2012, Austrian daredevil Felix Baumgartner jumps from a capsule attached to a helium balloon approximately 24 miles above Earth and becomes the first person to break the sound barrier without the protection or propulsion of a vehicle. After making his record-setting jump, which was witnessed live by a global audience via cameras mounted on his capsule, the 43-year-old Baumgartner landed safely in the desert near Roswell, New Mexico.
Baumgartner, who was born in Salzburg, Austria, in 1969, started skydiving at age 16 and spent time in the Austrian army as a paratrooper. He went on to perform a series of daredevil feats, including becoming the first person to jump from one of the twin 1,483-foot-high Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur, then the world’s tallest buildings, in 1999, and becoming the first person to skydive across the English Channel using a carbon-fiber wing, in 2003. The Austrian’s record-breaking 2012 jump was more than five years in the making and involved a team of engineers, scientists and other aeronautic experts who custom-designed Baumgartner’s equipment, including his pressurized space suit (intended to prevent his blood from boiling at high altitudes) and 6-foot-wide, 2,900-pound, pressurized capsule.
|Baumgartner departing the capsule of the helium-filled balloon that lifted him to 128,100 feet above sea level|
On the morning of October 14, 2012, a 550-foot-high helium balloon made of 40 acres of ultrathin plastic lifted the capsule carrying Baumgartner, nicknamed “Fearless Felix,” from the launch site at Roswell International Air Center. After reaching an altitude of 128,100 feet, Baumgartner stepped off the capsule and plunged toward Earth. His descent took nine minutes and 18 seconds - four minutes and 20 seconds of it in a free fall of 119,431 feet, during which he reached a top speed of 843.6 miles per hour, or Mach 1.25. Specially designed cameras positioned inside and outside of his capsule, as well as on the ground, enabled millions of people around the world to watch Baumgartner live online and on television. At an altitude of 8,421 feet above sea level, he deployed his parachute and went on to land smoothly in the desert. His entire mission, from launch to landing, took two hours and 47 minutes.
October 14, 1964 --- King wins Nobel Peace Prize
African American civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., is awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his non-violent resistance to racial prejudice in America. At 35 years of age, the Georgia-born minister was the youngest person ever to receive the award. Martin Luther King, Jr., was born in Atlanta in 1929, the son of a Baptist minister. He received a doctorate degree in theology and in 1955 organized the first major protest of the civil rights movement: the successful Montgomery Bus Boycott. Influenced by Mohandas Gandhi, he advocated non-violent civil disobedience to racial segregation. The peaceful protests he led throughout the American South were often met with violence, but King and his followers persisted, and their non-violent movement gained momentum.
A powerful orator, he appealed to Christian and American ideals and won growing support from the federal government and northern whites. In 1963, he led his massive March on Washington, in which he delivered his famous “I Have a Dream” address. In 1964, the civil rights movement achieved two of its greatest successes: the ratification of the 24th Amendment, which abolished the poll tax, and the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibited racial discrimination in employment and education and outlawed racial segregation in public facilities. In October of that year, King was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. He donated the prize money, valued at $54,600 (
N31,000,000.00) to the civil rights movement.
October 14, 1912 --- Theodore Roosevelt shot in Milwaukee
Before a campaign speech in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Theodore Roosevelt, the presidential candidate for the Progressive Party, is shot at close range by saloonkeeper John Schrank while greeting the public in front of the Gilpatrick Hotel. Schrank’s 32-caliber bullet, aimed directly at Roosevelt’s heart, failed to mortally wound the former president because its force was slowed by a glasses case and a bundle of manuscript in the breast pocket of Roosevelt’s heavy coat – a manuscript containing Roosevelt’s evening speech. Schrank was immediately detained and reportedly offered as his motive that “any man looking for a third term ought to be shot.”
Roosevelt, who suffered only a flesh wound from the attack, went on to deliver his scheduled speech with the bullet still in his body. After a few words, the former “Rough Rider” pulled the torn and bloodstained manuscript from his breast pocket and declared, “You see, it takes more than one bullet to kill a Bull Moose.” He spoke for nearly an hour and then was rushed to the hospital.
Despite his vigorous campaign, Roosevelt, who served as the 26th U.S. president from 1901 to 1909, was defeated by Democrat Woodrow Wilson in November. Shrank was deemed insane and committed to a mental hospital, where he died in 1943.