1956 - 2021, Celebrating  over 65 Years of Service

Touching Space, The Story of Project Man High
by Gregory P. Kennedy
Publisher: Schiffer Publishing, Ltd.

4880 Lower Valley Road, Atglen, PA 19310

Web Site:
Binding:  Paperback Height:




Pages:  128 No. Photos:
 130 plus B&W

This book describes the development of balloons and their use in scientific experiments. The story begins in the 1700s with the early Montgolfier flights, and continues into the modern era. The early use of hot air balloons for research purposes is covered, and this is followed by the first stratospheric flights of the Picard Brothers and other explorers.

Following WWII, interest in high altitude research increased. This was because of early experimental flights of manned rocket-powered aircraft, such as the Bell X-1. These flights led to the U.S. military becoming involved in sponsoring high-altitude balloon flights using laboratory animals as test subjects.

Starting in 1955, the decision was made to move on to manned flights. A contract was awarded to the Winzen Research Co. to develop a balloon and capsule system that would be capable of safely carrying a man up to an altitude equivalent to 99 percent of the atmosphere. This proposal became “Project Man High.”

The last three chapters go into detail in describing these flights. They cover the technical as well as the human factors that were involved in this project.

“Project Man High” was an important research tool that was used by later explorers to learn more about what would be needed to operate in the new environment of space. Unfortunately, it never gained the notice that other early space operations received. This book gives credit to the people that made it work. Touching Space is recommended to anyone interested in early space exploration, and an interesting human story.

Paul Butler


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