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  • Patrick Walsh

    Austrian sky diver Felix Baumgartner aims to execute the highest free fall in history. For 52 years that record has been held by U.S. Air Force pilot Joseph Kittinger—shown here. It was August 16, 1960. Kittinger had just uttered "Lord, take care of me now" and stepped out of his open-air, helium-balloon gondola, some 20 miles (31 kilometers) up. Thirteen minutes and 45 seconds later, he had traveled from the edge of space to New Mexico using only a pressurized suit and parachutes.

  • Anna Asherah

    In 1960 Joseph Kittinger travelled in a balloon to 102,800 feet (31,330 m) - the outer edge of the earth's atmosphpere - and then threw himself out into space. Eventually, at 18,000 feet (5,500 m) he opened a parachute, but most of the journey he spent in free fall. It is said that, as he jumped, he was sure he would die; and that for him the most testing part was not the thought of death, or the physical pain, but the extreme loneliness at what is really the edge of the world.

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