The Question:

What was the highest parachute jump ever?

The Answer:

The highest parachute jump ever made was done by U.S. Air Force Captain Joseph W. Kittinger on Aug. 16, 1960 over New Mexico.

Kittinger, who was doing high-altitude escape experiments for the air force, jumped from the gondola of an air balloon hovering 102,800 feet above sea level.

That's 19 miles up in the air!

Kittenger's free fall lasted more than 4 1/2 minutes, during which he reached a peak falling speed of 614 mph, the fastest any human has traveled—without a plane!

The jump was a Life magazine cover story in 1960 and the magazine recognized the 40th anniversary of the jump in August 2000.

Here is a link to other interesting parachute facts and stories as well as a timeline of Famous Firsts in Aviation.

—The Fact Monster