US AIR FORCE / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY US AIR FORCE / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
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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