Wednesday, December 19, 2007

The Sherman Foundation Salutes: Joe Kittinger

From Wikipedia:

Joseph William Kittinger II (born July 27, 1928) is a former pilot and career military officer in the United States Air Force. He is most famous for his participation in Project Man High and Project Excelsior and also, as being the first man to make a solo crossing of the Atlantic Ocean in a gas balloon.

he made a series of three parachute jumps wearing a pressurized suit, from a helium balloon with an open gondola.

The first, from 76,400 feet (23,287 m) in November, 1959 was a near tragedy when an equipment malfunction caused him to lose consciousness, but the automatic parachute saved him (he went into a flat spin at a rotational velocity of 120 rpm; the g-force at his extremities was calculated to be over 22 times that of gravity, setting another record). Three weeks later he jumped again from 74,700 feet (22,769 m). For that return jump Kittinger was awarded the Leo Stevens parachute medal.

This video is quite amazing.

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