We are about to attend the historic event of one of the most extreme feats so far attempted by the man since he started to fly. The Red Bull Stratos project with the parachutist Felix Baumgartner as the protagonist, is about to break a record that remained unbroken more than 50 years.
Through this timeline, we want to pay tribute to those men and women who contributed in one way or another to pave the way that led to one of the greatest challenges still to be achieved: the stratospheric jump.
For many people who lived firsthand the strange passion for ballooning and for those whom loved this activity as an important part of their professional careers or lives, one of the things that most will miss is some sort of romanticism and adventure that were the trademark of those pioneering years. Dr. Webb Haymaker's "Operation Stratomouse" -which appeared in Military Medicine in September 1956 and we reproduce here more than 50 years later- still today is one of the most accurate and finest chronicles of the day-to-day life during a balloon launch campaign, ever written. A true tale from the old days when GPS or real time tracking from a desktop computer connected to internet were only part of the wildest dreams of science fiction.
Those glorious days on which every balloon launched was an adventure itself which hardly could finish as expected.
To celebrate the the 75th anniversary of the "Explorer II" balloon mission, the aerospace expert and writer Gregory Kennedy offers us a new article in which deals with his usual accuracy and particular style, the details surrounding two of the biggest stratospheric flight efforts of the first half of the twentieth century.
Aerospace writer Gregory Kennedy, tells us the details behind Project EXCELSIOR, one of the most daring endeavours ever conducted by the Air Force of the United States. The program, carried out in the late fifties, was looking for a safe way to allow the bail-out of pilots and future astronauts from extreme heights.
In this brief article, aerospace writer Gregory Kennedy, makes a detailed account of the first balloon flight achieved in United States in 1793. Additionally, the author offers to the reader a glimpse of the personality, personal background and previous conquest of the french aeronaut Jean Pierre Blanchard.
Aerospace writer Gregory Kennedy, resumes the history of the U.S. NAVY's Stratolab manned balloon program, from it's origins in the never achieved "Helios" program, through the first flights in an open gondola up to 40.000 feet and the more advanced missions carried out using a sealed gondola, until the succesful and tragical last flight of the project in 1961.
In this article, Dwight Bawcom, former Operations Manager of the National Scientific Balloon Facility (now the Columbia Scientific Balloon Facility) paint us a short but comprehensive history of the NASA balloon program and the balloon facility itself.
As widely know since the sixties decade, and with more than 2000 stratospheric balloons launched in four continents the NSBF is one of the leading balloon groups in the world and accompanied since the balloon technology evolution.