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UPDATE 1-Daredevil's New Mexico skydive called off for now

Tuesday, 9 Oct 2012 | 2:12 PM ET

(Adds uncertainty over next launch attempt)

Oct 9 (Reuters) - An Austrian daredevil called off his death-defying skydive from a balloon 23 miles (37 km) over the New Mexico desert on Tuesday because of winds at the launch site.

Felix Baumgartner, a 43-year-old helicopter pilot, hot-air balloonist and professional skydiver, had been preparing to break a longstanding altitude record.

But his team announced the launch had been aborted moments after Baumgartner's balloon was set to carry him aloft over Roswell, New Mexico.

"Mission aborted due to gusty winds," a statement on the website of sponsor Red Bull said.

It gave no details and it was not immediately clear when a new launch attempt might be made.

"The launch is just a very dicey moment," mission commentator Bob Hager said during a live webcast of the event.

He said the weather forecast for Wednesday was uncertain and conditions were expected to deteriorate for the rest of the week.

Winds were about 17 mph (27 kph) when the balloon launch was called off at 1:43 p.m. EDT (1743 GMT).

(Reporting By Irene Klotz; additional reporting by Jane Sutton; Editing by Doina Chiacu)

((thomas.brown@thomsonreuters.com)(305 810 2688)(Reuters Messaging: thomas.brown.reuters.com@reuters.net))

Keywords: USA SPACE/SKYDIVE ABORT