"It was the quickest way down."
On August 16, 1960, Joe Kittinger jumped
from a helium balloon at 102,800 feet
, over 19 miles up. After free-falling
for four and a half minutes and reaching 614 MPH, almost breaking the sound barrier
, he opened his parachute at 18,000 feet and landed
safe and sound after an almost 14 minute descent. He set records
for highest balloon ascent, highest parachute jump, longest freefall and fastest speed by a man through the atmosphere. [more inside]
"I didn't hear a sonic boom; I didn't even hear any whooshing or whistling of the wind. But when I flipped over and looked back at my balloon, it sure was an eerie sight--the sky was black as night but I was bathed in sunshine."
posted by kirkaracha
on Mar 26, 2006 -