* Daredevil to attempt to break sound barrier during fall
* Previous freefall record was set 52 years ago
* Winds delay two attempts this week
By Irene Klotz
Oct 9 (Reuters) - An Austrian adventurer will have to waitat least until Sunday to skydive from a balloon flying 23 miles(37 km) above New Mexico in an attempt to break a long-standingfreefall record and the sound barrier.
Felix Baumgartner, 43, had hoped to make the jump onThursday following two delays this week because of high winds inRoswell, New Mexico. But the weather will keep Baumgartner, alicensed helicopter pilot, hot-air balloonist and professionalskydiver, grounded until at least Sunday.
"Sunday is looking like an option," team spokeswoman SarahAnderson wrote in an email.
Baumgartner will ride to an altitude of 120,000 feet (36,576meters) in a capsule dangling from a 55-story helium balloonthat is beyond paper-thin. The 30-million-cubic-foot(850,000-cubic-meter) plastic balloon is about one-tenth thethickness of a Ziploc bag.
To successfully and safely launch the balloon, winds need tobe no more than 2 miles per hour (3.3 km per hour) at analtitude of 700 feet (213 meters), which is the height of theinflated balloon.
The current record for a high-altitude skydive was set in1960 by Joe Kittinger, who jumped from a balloon flying at102,800 feet (31,333 meters). Kittinger, a retired U.S. AirForce colonel, fell for four minutes and 36 seconds and reacheda maximum speed of 614 mph (988 kph) before opening hisparachute.
Baumgartner hopes to top that by exceeding 690 mph (1,110kph) -- the speed of sound at the targeted altitude -- andfreefalling for 5 minutes and 35 seconds.
(Editing by Jane Sutton and Doina Chiacu)
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Keywords: USA SPACE/SKYDIVE