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September 6, 1952


Author Affiliations

U. S. A. F.
From the U, S. Air Force School of Aviation Medicine, Randolph Field, Texas.

JAMA. 1952;150(1):3-6. doi:10.1001/jama.1952.03680010009002

During August, 1951, it was announced in the newspapers that the flight of William Bridgeman in the Douglas D-558-2 Skyrocket had broken all existing manned altitude records. The exact altitude was not reported publicly; however, it was admitted to have been above the former balloon record of 72,395 ft., held by Stevens and Anderson.1 Mr. Bridgeman's record is significant if one realizes that at the admitted altitude he was above at least 95% of the substance of atmosphere, or, stated in another way, the penetration of 5% more of its substance would have placed him in space; however, the actual remaining distance was great. Of similar significance, more than a year ago the second stage of an unmanned two stage rocket, the WAC Corporal,2 reached an altitude of approximately 250 miles (1,320,000 ft). From a practical functional viewpoint, this rocket at the peak of its journey was in

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