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Radioing he had "a ring-side view of the heavens" Air Force officer David G. Simons made history in 1957 high aboard his Manhigh II balloon. He rose 101,500 feet above Earth, writing later he could barely comprehend the beauty of the sky. He was celebrated by The New York Times as "The First Space Man." "Space Men" premieres March 1 at 9/8c on PBS American Experience.
Before the days of NASA, scientists and researchers at the U.S. Air Force were testing the limits of how high man could fly. Though largely forgotten today, balloonists were the first to venture into the frozen near-vacuum on the edge of our world, exploring the very limits of human physiology and human ingenuity in this lethal realm. "Space Men" premieres March 1 at 9/8c on PBS.
In the mid-20th century, a small band of high-altitude pioneers exposed themselves to the extreme forces of the space age long before NASA's acclaimed Mercury 7 would make headlines. In California, a young Army doctor named John Paul Stapp tested the limits of human endurance in order to keep up with the rapid developments in rocket and aircraft technology. "Space Men" premieres March 1 at 9/8c.
U.S. Air Force aviation doctor, John Paul Stapp, tested the limits of human physiology both on the ground and in near-space. Not satisfied with the accepted belief that 18 G's -- or 18 times the pull of gravity -- could kill a person, he set out to prove humans could survive acceleration and deceleration at rapid speeds and from dizzying heights. "Space Men" premieres March 1 at 9/8c on PBS.
Beginning in 1783, balloonists risked their lives trying to view the Earth from a brand new vantage point. But rather than deter aerial exploration, these new and dangerous heights lured explorers ever higher into the clouds. "Space Men" premieres March 1 at 9/8c on PBS American Experience.
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