In one of a series of Air Force experiments designed to test human reaction to stratospheric flight (as in rocketcraft or manned satellites), Air Force Captain Joe W. Kittinger Jr. this week soared in a balloon over South St. Paul to a new manned balloon altitude record: 18 miles (96,000 ft.), besting the old Navy-made mark, set last November, by almost four miles.

Guided by Colonel John P. Stapp (TIME, Sept. 12, 1955), boss of the Air Force's Aero Medical Laboratories, eager Jet Pilot Kittinger, 28, climbed into an instrument-cramped, air-conditioned gondola, was...

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