02/10/2012 08:03 BST | Updated 02/10/2012 11:15 BST

Felix Baumgartner Prepares To Make Record-Breaking Jump From 120,000 Feet (PICTURES, VIDEO)

Next Monday Felix Baumgartner will leap out of a balloon-carried capsule from a staggering 23 miles up – and possibly be the first skydiver to break the sound barrier as he rockets to Earth.

What’s more, you’ll be able to watch the event live.

The previous record for the highest freefall was set by US military pilot Joe Kittinger on 16 August 1960.

Baumgartner pictured making a test jump from 18 miles earlier this year

He leapt from a helium-filled balloon from 19 miles up and reached 600mph on the way down.

To say that jumping from even higher up is a risky undertaking is an understatement, with the list of possible injuries and ways of dying all distinctly gruesome.

For starters, Baumgartner, also known as “Fearless Felix”, could go into a spin, haemorrhage his eyes and get a blood clot on his brain – or his blood might “boil” if his suit rips.

The 43-year-old from Austria may also break his neck.

But the jump from 120,000 feet, which will take place above New Mexico, has been meticulously planned over the past five years.

He's already made two test jumps from 15 and 18 miles - and he’s using state-of-the-art kit.

For example, if he’s rendered unconscious an emergency parachute will deploy automatically.

His journey down will be one that no skydiver will be familiar with.

He’ll be so high up that he won’t even have a sensation of falling, because there’s hardly any atmosphere.

Kittinger reported that his jump suit didn’t even ripple during the first few minutes of the fall.

Many people will wonder, of course, whether Felix really will be "Fearless" on the big day.

According to Dr Rhonda Cohen, Sport Psychologist at Middlesex University, his moniker isn't entirely accurate.

She told Huffington Post UK: "People who do extreme things do so because they are able to weigh up the risk and the safety factor. They can calculate the extent of the danger. Will Felix be scared? Of course - the dangers are still there – risk to health and life.

"However, the gamble is that focusing in on the goal of achieving a record will outweigh the possible death. So like a gambler – it’s weighing whether there is a greater chance of success than a risk of death. People in extreme sport examine that balance continuously."

Dr Cohen believes that what motivates the daredevil is the challenge of redefining the limits - and simply getting a buzz.

She added: "People in extreme enjoy pushing the limits – it’s that sense of being really frightened but being really excited at the same time. It is the sense of challenge in one hand and the sense of the unknown in the other."

Baumgartner’s jump will be live-streamed at

Photo gallery Felix Baumgartner See Gallery