Joe Kittinger ca. 1960
"When I jumped," Kittinger wrote in Plane & Pilot magazine a couple years ago. "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."
October 14, 2012 11:44 AM PDT
Photo by: U.S. Air Force archives
| Caption by: Jonathan Skillings
Conversation powered by Livefyre