Question: What was the highest ever skydive before Felix Baumgartner?
Answer: Before Felix Baumgartner’s 2012 jump the record for the highest ever skydive has long been held by Joseph William Kittinger II at a height of over 31 km (19 miles, 102,800 feet).
Kittinger also worked on the project for Baumgartner’s skydive designed to beat his record.
Kittinger made his record breaking jump on the 16th of August 1960 as the culmination of Project Excelsior.
To get high enough to begin with the skydive was taken from an open gondola (like a hot air balloon basket) named Excelsior 3.
The free fall phase of the jump lasted 4 minutes 36 seconds achieving a top speed of 614 mph/988kph. Joseph Kittinger then opened his parachute at 18,000 feet.
Despite falling at such high speeds Kittinger said during the early phase of the free fall he experienced no sensation of speed. This is because he was outside the earths atmosphere meaning there was no air and therefore no wind pressure or noise.