A space elevator is a hypothetical megastructure capable of transporting material from Earth—or another celestial body—into space without the use of rockets. The concept was first conceived by Russian inventor Konstantin Tsiolkovsky in 1895. Many of today’s proposed designs incorporate tensile towers built out of advanced materials like carbon nanotubes, which are very strong and lightweight. By 1978, technology had advanced enough that working space elevators could have been constructed where?
As jets began flying higher and faster, the US Air Force became increasingly worried about the safety of its flight crew. Project Excelsior was initiated in 1958 to design a multi-stage parachute system that would allow a safe, controlled descent after a high-altitude ejection.
In 1959 and 1960, Captain Joseph Kittinger made a series of high-altitude parachute jumps to test the new parachute system, setting three world records in the process.
“Research is what I’m doing when I don’t know what I’m doing.” – Werner Von Braun