Kittinger's descent, Project Excelsior

Kittinger's descent, Project Excelsior

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Credit: US AIR FORCE/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Kittinger's descent, Project Excelsior. Automated photograph of US Air Force captain Joseph William Kittinger II (born 1928) jumping from the Excelsior III balloon gondola on 16 August 1960. Kittinger made three high-altitude parachute descents as part of this USAF project. This third descent was from a record-breaking height of just over 31 kilometres. As well as the highest balloon ascent, this was the longest free-fall (over four minutes) and fastest speed (nearly 1000 kilometres per hour). The descent over New Mexico, USA, took 13 minutes, with a pressure suit worn due to the low temperatures and pressures.

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