Our nation’s first man in space

Our first man in space got there by a route most people can’t guess:  Balloon.

Joe Kittinger recounted his adventures to the CBS Morning Show, how he leaped from a balloon at the edge of space for the Air Force, to prove that humans could survive a fall from such distances, in the event of an emergency that required an astronaut to bail out.

Kittinger bailed out of the balloon at over 102,000 feet, nearly three times the height of Mt. Everest into the atmosphere.

But Elton John never wrote a song about “Balloon Man.”


2 Responses to Our nation’s first man in space

  1. Ed Darrell says:

    Good point. I meant to look that up, but got distracted. Thanks.


  2. Ediacaran says:

    Thanks for the info, Ed.

    Not to denigrate Col. Kittinger’s accomplishments (including jumping from a balloon between 19 and 20 miles above the Earth!), but “space” is considered to be 50 miles and above for purposes of earning one’s astronaut wings in the U.S., while the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale recognizes 100 km and above (about 62.137 miles).

    One friend of mine reached space in the X-15 back in the 1960’s, but wasn’t officially recognized as an astronaut by NASA until 2005: http://www.spaceref.com/news/viewpr.html?pid=17660


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