In 1960, U.S. Air Force pilot Joseph Kittinger flew thirty kilometers straight up into the sky using a pressurized, high-altitude balloon. This very nearly made him the first man in space.
Then he jumped.
Mr. Kittinger free-fell for over twenty kilometers - at which point he was moving so fast that he broke the sound barrier.
He had all but left the earth’s atmosphere; the sky around him was pitch black; he could see the outlines of entire continents; and the haiku-like abstraction of his available reference points – earth, balloon, space – made it impossible to tell if he was really falling.
Does this sound like fiction? Luckily, there’s a film.
(Source: jonyorkblog, via splitminded)