He saluted and jumped.
He experienced a few hitches. About three minutes in, he reported, "My visor is fogging up." Then he began to veer into a "flat spin" that threatened to send blood rushing to his head and leave him out of control.
"There was a period of time where I really thought, 'I am in trouble,' " Baumgartner said, recalling how he considered pushing a button that would have released a drogue chute, slowing and stabilizing his descent -- and scuttling the attempt to break the sound barrier.
"But after a couple of seconds, I had that feeling I'm getting it under control. And I did," he added. "And that's why I broke the speed of sound today."
After free-falling for about four minutes and 20 seconds, he deployed a parachute for the final mile or two down to Earth.
"There's the chute," said a specialist in Mission Control, and the control room broke into applause.
As soon as Baumgartner landed, he dropped to his knees and raised his fists. The team at Mission Control in Roswell burst into applause.
While he and his team had prepared diligently for the jump, his survival was no guarantee.
In addition to the risk of spinning out of control, Baumgartner's life depended on the integrity of his pressure suit. The temperature when he jumped was expected to hit 70 degrees below zero Fahrenheit or lower. And the atmosphere was so thin that his blood would have vaporized if he wasn't sufficiently protected.
Testing that pressurized flight suit and helmet was one goal of the mission, as it could save an astronaut's life if a manned spacecraft malfunctioned. The outfit had sensors and recorders to measure everything from his speed to his heart rate.
Sunday's successful jump breaks the record set in 1960 by Col. Joe Kittinger, who fell from 102,800 feet as part of a U.S. Air Force mission. Kittinger was a consultant on Baumgartner's effort, serving as the lone person from Mission Control talking to the Austrian throughout his attempt.
Kittinger acknowledged the ups and downs of the years-long effort Sunday. The former aviator was all smiles in lauding Baumgartner, who he said "did perfect," and all the others involved in making the mission a success.
"It was a team effort, and Felix did a fantastic job," Kittinger said. "It was an honor for all of us to work with this brave guy."