Before Felix Baumgartner, even before we landed on the moon, there was Joseph Kittenger. If you look up the definition of badass, you’ll see a picture of Kittenger. In Vietnam, he spent 11 months as a prisoner of war. He was the first man to make a solo crossing of the Atlantic in a gas balloon. At 84 years old, he participated in the Red Bull Stratos project. In between all that, he found time to set the world skydiving record.
20. AIR BOURNE JOE KITTINGER
Joe Kittinger breathed only pure oxygen for hours before lift off in order to cleanse the blood of nitrogen gas which can expand painfully and fatally at altitude.
19. HIGHEST FREE FALL
Kittinger’s jump set the record for the highest free fall, surpassing the altitude record set by Major David Simons, who had climbed to 101,516 feet in the Manhigh II balloon.
18. A BALLOON’S GONDOLA
On August 16, 1960, 32-year-old U.S. Air Force Capt. Joe Kittinger ascended to the edge of space in a balloon’s gondola to 102,800 feet and parachuted back to earth.