On August 16, 1960, American Air Force Captain Joseph Kittinger boarded a helium balloon at Wright Field, Ohio. For the next hour and 31 minutes, Kittinger ascended into the stratosphere. Then, at 102,800 feet, or 31,333 metres for us metric system devotees, he stepped OUT of the balloon gondola. What transpired for the next 13 minutes and 45 seconds was beyond awe-inspiring. Kittinger fell without a parachute for 4 minutes and 31 seconds and reached a maximum speed of 614 miles an hour plummeting to Earth. Suffice to say, this is the highest skydive in history, and the record has stood for 50 years. Now Austrian daredevil Felix Baumgartner, of BASE Jumping Christ the Redeemer fame, wants to break the record, some time within the year, in a highly publicized jump that would see him take a leap of faith from 23 miles above planet Earth. I hope he makes it, but I have to nod in respect to Kittinger first. A man who jumps from 20 miles in the air and lives to tell about it has cojones big enough to fit in a dump truck, and while records are made to be broken, Joe Kittinger will always be remembered as the first man to jump from space.
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About the Author: Steve Hutchings
Steve Hutchings is an extreme sports blogger and adventure traveller with too much time on his hands. He loves shark diving and EDM/trance music. Also, he checks the stock market every 15 minutes.