Project Excelsior

PROJECT EXCELSIOR was a series of high-altitude parachute jumps made by Colonel (then Captain) Joseph Kittinger of the United States Air Force (USAF) in 1959 and 1960 to test the Beaupre multi-stage parachute system. In one of these jumps Kittinger set world records for the highest parachute jump, the longest parachute drogue fall and the fastest speed (614 Miles an hour, nine-tenths the speed of sound) by a human through the atmosphere, all of which still stand.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O_gJNYXAnFo

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