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First Manned Hydrogen Balloon Flight, 1783

First Manned Hydrogen Balloon Flight, 1783


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On December 1, 1783, Jacques Charles and the Robert brothers launched a manned balloon from the Jardin des Tuileries. Charles was accompanied by Nicolas-Louis Robert as co-pilot of the hydrogen-filled balloon. The envelope was fitted with a hydrogen release valve and was covered with a net from which the basket was suspended. Sand ballast was used to control altitude. They ascended to a height of about 1,800 feet and landed after a 2 hour flight covering 22 miles. Charles decided to ascend again, but alone this time because the balloon had lost some of its hydrogen. The balloon ascended rapidly and he began suffering from aching pain in his ears so he 'valved' to release gas, and descended. He never flew again. They carried a barometer and a thermometer to measure the pressure and the temperature of the air, making this not only the first manned hydrogen balloon flight but also the first balloon flight to provide meteorological measurements of the.

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