Kittinger's record-setting dive occurred on Aug. 16, 1960, from a dizzying altitude of 102,800 feet - at the very edge of the Earth's atmosphere. He spent 12 very uncomfortable minutes at that altitude, experiencing temperatures of minus 94 degrees F, and pain from a malfunctioning pressurized glove.
Then he jumped, and was in freefall for a full five minutes before it was safe to pop his parachute. He reached speeds of 614 mph, the fastest speed yet attained by a man in the atmosphere.
However, not even Kittinger holds the record for the world's longest freefall - not if you consider the use of a drogue chute to stabilize the jumper during freefall to be, well, a bit of a cheat.
If you do accept that premise, then the record holder (according to Guinness Book of World Records) is a Russian, Eugene Andreev, who jumped from a Volga balloon at an altitude of 83,523 feet and fell for 80,380 feet before deploying his parachute, way back on November 1, 1960, near Saratov, Russia.
So even if Baumgarten gets to make his attempt, and succeeds, Andreev's record will still hold: Baumgarten's equipment includes an aerodynamic drogue parachute. Still, at least he'll finally surpass Kittinger's historic freefall.
Image: (top) Felix Baumgartner, left, shakes hands with United States Air Force Col.(Ret.) Joe Kittinger, right, following the October 2010 Red Bull Stratos press conference announcing Baumgartner's intent to break the record (AP Photo) (bottom) Still shot of Kittinger's historic jump.