Kittinger set two more records, which hestill holds. On August 16, 1960, Kittinger surpassed the altitude record set byMajor David Simons, who had climbed to 101,516 feet (30,942 meters) in 1957 inhis Man-High II balloon. Kittinger floated to 102,800 feet (31,333 meters) in Excelsior III, an open gondola adorned with a paper license plate that hisfive-year-old son had cut out of a cereal box. Protected against the subzero temperatures by layers of clothesand a pressure suit--he experienced air temperatures as low as minus 94 degreesFahrenheit (minus 70 degrees Celsius)--and loaded down with gear that almostdoubled his weight, he climbed to his maximum altitude in one hour and 31minutes even though at 43,000 feet (13,106 meters) he began experiencing severepain in his right hand caused by a failure in his pressure glove and could havescrubbed the mission. He remained at peak altitude for about 12 minutes; thenhe stepped out of his gondola into the darkness of space. After falling for 13seconds, his six-foot (1.8-meter) canopy parachute opened and stabilized hisfall, preventing the flat spin that could have killed him. Only four minutesand 36 seconds more were needed to bring him down to about 17,500 feet (5,334meters) where his regular 28-foot (8.5-meter) parachute opened, allowing him tofloat the rest of the way to Earth. His descent set another record for thelongest parachute freefall. During his descent, he reached speeds up to 614 miles perhour, approaching the speed of sound without theprotection of an aircraft or space vehicle. But, he said, he "had absolutely nosense of the speed." His flight and parachute jump demonstrated that, properlyprotected, it was possible to put a person into near-space and that airmencould exit their aircraft at extremely high altitudes and free fall back intothe Earth's atmosphere without dangerous consequences.
Tags: Kittinger, Excelsior III, High Altitude Parachute Jump, usa
Location: United States (load item map)
Marked as: approved
Views: 9006 | Comments: 18 | Votes: 7 | Favorites: 10 | Shared: 227 | Updates: 0 | Times used in channels: 2
|Liveleak on Facebook|