Tuesday, March 07, 2006

falling back to earh

Ballardian: The World of J.G. Ballard » Myths of the Space Age: Joe Kittinger

I’m sure you can read Ballardian imagery into this if you want…the world’s forgotten ‘astronaut’, he was to all intents and purposes the first man in space, only to be completely overshadowed by Yuri Gargarin and Neil Armstrong.

As BLDGBLOG says: “In 1960, U.S. Air Force pilot Joe Kittinger flew 30km straight up into the sky using a pressurized, high-altitude balloon. This very nearly made him the first man in space.

He then jumped.

Kittinger free-fell for over twenty kilometers – at which point he was moving so fast 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. Luckily, there’s a film”.

Indeed. Kittinger carried a camera with him, and you can see the film here.

Mind blowing.

First man In Space - Skydiving from the edge of the world - Google Video

Nabeel's Cosmos

BLDGBLOG: Falling back to earth, alone

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