"The highest step in the world"
In Project Excelsior, a gondola was suspended beneath a massive research balloon, which Kittinger would pilot high above Earth--and then exit. In November and December of 1959, he made two jumps, the first from 76,000 feet and the second from almost as high, at 74,700 feet. Then, on August 16, 1960, he went even closer to space. This photo shows him ready to go on that date, in the Excelsior III mission. On the threshold of the gondola you can see the words: This is the highest step in the world.
July 5, 2010 6:00 AM PDT
Photo by: U.S. Air Force archives
| Caption by: Jonathan Skillings
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