Pilot Felix Baumgartner of Austria jumps out from the capsule during the final manned flight for the Red Bull Stratos mission in Roswell, New Mexico, USA on October 14, 2012. A scene from the TV documentary Space Dive.
Pilot Felix Baumgartner of Austria jumps out from the capsule during the final manned flight for the Red Bull Stratos mission in Roswell, New Mexico, USA on October 14, 2012. A scene from the TV documentary Space Dive. Red Bull Stratos - Contributed by BBC Australia

Making of a daredevil

THE BBC's new documentary reveals the long journey behind Felix Baumgartner's world-record 39km skydive.

Completed in October last year, the death-defying feat saw the Austrian daredevil become the first person to break the sound barrier unassisted.

The event, sponsored prominently by Red Bull, was streamed live around the world and received international media attention.

But long before the majority of people knew who Felix Baumgartner was, documentary filmmaker Colin Barr decided to follow the extreme sportsman's ambitious project.

Space Dive - BBC Knowledge - Friday at 9.30pm

"We began in 2008 when it was just a big idea," Barr told The Guide.

"At that point we thought it might take six to nine months. I was turning up to what I thought was a relatively quick project, but it became clear as we got further and further into the project and watched as the engineers and scientists grappled with all of the problems that the idea it would take six to nine months was rather naive.

"We ended up in this rolling situation of deadlines being extended, and before we knew it four years had passed."

Space Dive became Barr's biggest documentary project to date, and he became invested in the world-record attempt and the team behind it.

When the conditions were finally right for Baumgartner's jump, Barr reveals the freefall almost went horribly wrong.

"When he began to spin that was the moment where everybody who knew anything about that project thought he might die," he said.

"I was in a helicopter watching him to fall on my iPhone, which was a weird moment, just thinking 'I don't think he's going to get out of this'. I was wondering if I was watching something really awful unfold. It was a weird mix of emotions."

Space Dive gives viewers an insider's look at the four-year project and the extensive planning and preparations involved not only for Baumgartner but also an entire team of scientists and engineers.



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