Project Excelsior was a series of high altitude parachute jumps made to test a multi-stage parachutes system. The final jump was made on August 16, 1960, by Joseph Kittinger. He jumped from Excelsior III at 102,800 feet and fell for four minutes and 36 seconds. His maximum speed was a whopping 614 miles per hour, which was so fast it broke the sound barrier! He had to wear special equipment to deal with the pressure, but because the pressurization for his right glove failed, his hand swelled up to twice its normal size.
In doing this, he set the records for highest balloon ascent, highest parachute jump, longest drogue-fall, and fastest speed by a human being through the atmosphere- and ALL of these records are still held today, fifty-two years later. Kittinger is still alive today. He's eighty-three and lives in Tampa, Florida.