Page last updated at 09:24 GMT, Wednesday, 27 January 2010

London man in record space-edge parachute jump bid

Steve Truglia
Steve Truglia hopes to break the sound barrier

A skydiver is hoping to break a 50-year-old world record for a parachute jump by leaping off the edge of space.

The jump, if successful, would see Steve Truglia, 47, from Wanstead, east London, become the first human being to break the sound barrier.

Colonel Joe Kittinger, of the US Air Force, made history in 1960 by leaping from a balloon at 102,800ft (31km).

Mr Truglia said he "urgently" needed sponsorship of £500,000 in order to make the world record attempt.

You've got to stand up and step off the edge, not fully knowing what fate awaits you
Steve Truglia

His appeal for sponsorship comes days after Austrian Felix Baumgartner spoke of his aim to break the same record.

Since 1960 several people have attempted to break the record but failed.

Mr Truglia said: "It's the ultimate. As a professional stuntman I can't think of a bigger or better stunt.

"You are on the edge of space, with black sky and the stars at eye level. You are looking down at the curved earth beneath you.

"You've got to stand up and step off the edge, not fully knowing what fate awaits you."

Space suit

Mr Truglia will ascend to the edge of space seated in an open Kevlar box below a light-weight balloon.

On leaping off the balloon he would reach speeds of more than 700mph in the first 11-15 seconds and then would enjoy up to seven minutes of freefall.

He gave himself a 98% chance of survival as "you are reliant on your equipment".

"I'm urgently looking for a sponsor that wants to move quickly to help me break this record," he said.

The adventurer said he has invested £100,000 of his own money towards the attempt and will be ready for the jump within four months after further tests on his light-weight balloon and special pressurised space suit.

The jump is expected to take place somewhere in North America.

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