The Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum Trophy, the museum’s highest honor, has been awarded to the world record-setting parachutist and balloonist Col. Joseph W. Kittinger Jr. in the category of Lifetime Achievement.
Col. Kittinger set multiple world records on Aug 16, 1960: the highest parachute jump: 102,800 feet; the longest parachute free fall: 4 min 36 secs; and the fastest speed by a man through the atmosphere; 614 mph during free fall. The project also set the record for the highest ascent in a balloon. In September 1984, Kittinger set a world record for the longest distance flown in a 3,000 cubic meter helium balloon. He has also received the Distinguished Flying Cross on five occasions, two for his balloon experiments and three for his combat tours in Southeast Asia.