Kittinger and pressure suit
"The most fascinating thing is that it's just black overhead. The transition from the familiar blue sky to black is very stark. You can't see stars because there's a lot of glare from the sun," Kittinger wrote in Plane & Pilot magazine recently. (In this photo from an unspecified date, he's being helped with his pressure suit.)
"When I jumped," he continued, "I was thinking simply that it was the beginning of a test. I had done it a hundred times in an altitude chamber and a thousand times in my mind, so I was prepared and confident. But after I jumped, I rolled over and looked up, and there was the balloon just roaring into space. I realized, however, that the balloon wasn't really roaring into space--I was going down at a fantastic rate! At about 90,000 feet, I reached approximately 614 mph. At that point, my altimeter was unwinding very rapidly, but there was no sense of speed because we determine speed visually when we see something go flashing by, and there were no visual cues."
July 5, 2010 6:00 AM PDT
Photo by: U.S. Air Force archives
| Caption by: Jonathan Skillings
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