Joe Kittinger will be at the UNM Bookstore Friday, Oct. 8 at 1 p.m. to discuss and sign copies of his autobiography Come Up and Get Me (UNM Press), featuring a foreword by Neil Armstrong. The event is free and open to the public.
Just before 7 a.m. on August 16, 1960, United States Air Force Colonel (then Captain) Kittinger hovered in a tiny gondola at 102,800 feet and took in the scenery. Nineteen miles below he could see the gentle curve of the earth's surface. It was a spectacular sight, but Kittinger was eager to be back on the ground and there was only one way to get there. He grabbed the sides of the gondola's door, inched his boots to the edge, and plunged forward.
Thirteen minutes and forty-five seconds later, after achieving a top free fall speed of 614 miles per hour, and setting historical records for the longest and highest parachute jump and longest free fall, Kittinger landed safely in the New Mexico desert near Holloman Air Force Base. Project Excelsior, the goal of which was to demonstrate that egress survival for pilots at high altitude was possible in emergency situations, was a success. After this flight, Kittinger has never stopped flying. He has piloted more than 75 different types of aircraft over the years and received numerous military and civilian awards and decorations. A person who helped open the portal to space, in the year 2010, 50 years after his record-shattering mission to the edge of space, Kittinger is still a vital part of the aviation community.
The UNM Bookstore is located at 2301 Central Ave. NE at the intersection of Cornell and Central. Parking will be validated in the parking structure for up to one hour with purchase. Call Lisa Walden at (505) 277-7494 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.