Joe Kittinger’s Latest

There was some disagreement on Jor Kittinger’s jump and balloon record and Joe settled this with these comments:  Joe’s comments–There is some FAI rule that the record holders have to live for 24 hours or some dumb thing like that. The fact is, official record or not they hold the record for the highest ascent in a balloon-113,740 feet. Just like my record is not an “official” record because no attempt was made to make a record. However, I did jump from 102,800 feet. Before my jump the NAA suggested that I establish a record on my up coming jump. I refused to have the jump certified as we were not making the jump to set a record but to obtain information that we needed for the forthcoming “Space Age” and to provide a means of escape from high altitudes. It would appear to the public that the objective of the jump was to set a record. I felt that it was not proper to use tax payers money to set a record. However, we did accomplish the goals that we started out to obtain. We contributed to the Space Age and developed a small stabilization parachute to provide a means of escape from high altitudes. Today, some 52 years later every Air Force in the world uses a small stabilizing parachute to stabilize the ejection seat to lower altitudes, an approach that we demonstrated to work some 52 years ago. And now you know “the rest of the story”.  Any Time Any Place, Joe Kittinger

1960—16 August—Joseph Kittinger parachutes from Excelsior III over New Mexico at 102,800 ft (31,300 m). He sets unbeaten (as of 2010) world records for: high-altitude jump; free-fall by falling 16 miles (26 km) before opening his parachute; and fastest speed by a human without motorized assistance, 614 miles per hour (988 km/h).[21]

1961—4 May—34.668 km (113,740 ft); Commander Malcolm D. Ross and Lieutenant Commander Victor A. Prather, Jr. (US Navy) in Strato-Lab V, using an unpressurized gondola and balloon developed by Winzen Research. After descending, the gondola containing the two balloonists landed in the Gulf of Mexico. A hovering helicopter lowered a rescue hook, and although Ross slipped partially out of it, he was able to recover before falling completely into the water. A few minutes later Prather slipped off the rescue hook into the ocean and drowned in spite of heroic efforts by Navy divers

Red Bull High-Altitude Jump Back On Track

A plan to fly to 120,000 feet in a helium balloon then parachute back to Earth is back on schedule this week after a long hiatus, Red Bull said on Tuesday. The Red Bull Stratos team is working with Col. Joe Kittinger to break the record he set 52 years ago for the longest jump. The effort began in 2005 but was put on hold in 2010 while a legal challenge was sorted out. The dispute was settled out of court, a Red Bull spokesperson told AVweb, and the team is now making final preparations for the record attempt, to take place in Roswell, N.M. Felix Baumgartner, a certificated helicopter and balloon pilot and record-setting B.A.S.E. jumper, will make the jump.

Kittinger was an Air Force test pilot working with the space program when he made his record jump from 102,800 feet in 1960. He set three records that have never been surpassed — the fastest freefall, at 614 mph; freefall from the highest altitude; and longest time in freefall, 4 minutes and 36 seconds. At the time, he also set a record for highest manned balloon flight, but that record was broken in 1961 during a Navy test flight to 113,740 feet. The Stratos team aims to break all four of those records. Specially developed camera systems will document the mission from the balloon and from the ground, and will webcast the jump live online at Click here for a five-minute video about the project.

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