Man Jumped From an Altitude of 102,800 Feet Back to Earth-Truth!

Man Jumped From an Altitude of 102,800 Feet Back to Earth-Truth!

Summary of eRumor:

This is a forwarded email with the story of  U.S. Air Force Captain Joe Kittenger’s amazing free fall jump from close to 20 miles above the Earth.   The email alleges that Kittenger floated to outer space in a specially equipped balloon and jumped from a height of 102,800 feet with nothing more than a special pressurized suit and a parachute.

The Truth:
The story is true and is posted on an official U.S. Air Force web page on the Internet.  On August 16, 1960 Captain Joe Kittenger became the first man to freefall back to earth from an altitude of close to 20 miles.
The environment was so harmful at 102,800 feet that Kittenger had to wear a pressurized suit with layers of insulation to keep him alive in temperatures as low as -94°F in the vacuum of space. At any elevation above 62,000 feet a man’s blood would literally boil because of the extremely low atmospheric pressure. Kittenger’s freefall descent lasted about 4 minutes and he reached a speed in excess of 600 miles an hour, faster than the speed of sound. At 18,000 feet he deployed his parachute and landed safely in the New Mexico desert. The total time of his voyage back to Earth was 13 minutes, 45 seconds.
Kittenger continued his military career commanding the 555 Tactical Fighter Squadron and flying an F-4 Phantom Jet during the Viet Nam war. Shortly after shooting down an enemy MiG-21 aircraft Kittenger was shot down and captured on May 11, 1972. He was held at the “Hanoi Hilton” as a prisoner of war for 11 months. Kittenger retired from the Air Force at the rank of Colonel in 1978 and today still enjoys flying.

YouTube Video of Captain Kittenger’s Amazing Leap

Updated  01/16/12