How was Baumgartner able to control where he landed? For starters, the skydiver remained within the Earth's atmosphere, so he never had to account for the planet rotating underneath him. His team waited for ideal weather conditions, when there were fewer high-altitude winds that might have caused his balloon to drift.
And once he deployed his parachute, less than two miles above the Earth, Baumgartner was able to steer himself to a flat, open landing spot -- some 23 miles east of where the balloon had taken off several hours earlier. A beacon inside his suit allowed his recovery helicopter to follow him.
The parachute itself was a tech marvel five years in the making.
The first personal parachute ever used for a supersonic-speed fall, it weighs 60 pounds, or three times as much as a normal parachute.
It included a "drogue chute" that could have deployed if Baumgartner began spinning out of control. He had a button on one of his gloves that would have caused the chute to open if he held it down for three seconds. That parachute (which is separate from the regular emergency chute) also would have deployed if it was being hit by unexpectedly high levels of pressure for more than six seconds.
His rig also included a button to cut the emergency parachute. While it would just be an inconvenience for many skydivers, if Baumgartner's emergency chute accidentally deployed at a high altitude, it could have slowed him down so much that he ran out of oxygen.