In August 16th 1960, military pilot Colonel Joseph W Kittinger took a giant 200ft diameter helium balloon to the edge of space in a NASA mission known as Excelsior III. He actually reached the stratosphere, 102,800 feet (31,300 m) above sea level in a pressure-resistant suit with 99% of all Earth’s atmosphere beneath him. Then, he did something nuts – he jumped!
For the first part of the fall – the atmosphere was so thin Kittinger felt zero wind resistance and believed he was suspended in space until, after four minutes and 36 seconds of freefall at almost 1000 km/h, he penetrated the troposphere and met it’s wind resistance where at last he opened his parachute at 18,000 feet (5,500 m).
Mighty useful. Make no mistake, I apeipcrate it.