Jean-Pierre Blanchard, French balloon pioneer

Jean-Pierre Blanchard, French balloon pioneer

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Credit: COLLECTION ABECASIS/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Jean-Pierre Blanchard (1753-1809). 1864 illustration of the French inventor and pioneer of balloon flight Jean-Pierre Blanchard. Blanchard explored the limits and possibilities of aerial travel by balloon and experimented with parachutes and methods of propulsion. In 1784 he made the first ascent in a hydrogen balloon, months after the first-ever manned (hot-air) balloon flight. The next year Blanchard (with Jeffries) made the first crossing of the English Channel from Dover to Calais. In 1793, he conducted the first balloon flight in the Americas.

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