Joe Kittinger is enshrined in the National Aviation Hall of Fame, credited for helping NASA's astronaut program.
Colonel Joe Kittinger, USAF (Retired)
Red Bull Stratos Flight Operations And Safety, Capcom I
On August 16, 1960 Joe Kittinger became a real-life superhero.
It was the "highest step in the world". Joe Kittinger made history as he ascended to 102,800 feet in a high-altitude balloon and jumped to Earth, setting four world records. During a distinguished USAF career, Joe served as a test pilot, Squadron Commander, and Vice Wing Commander, and he spent 11 months as a POW in Vietnam. He retired as a Colonel and subsequently set two world ballooning records and won numerous ballooning competitions.
Joe is a National Aeronautics Association Elder Statesman of Aviation; was awarded a Lifetime Achievement in Aviation trophy from the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum; was made an Honorary U.S. Army Golden Knight; and is enshrined in the National Aviation Hall of Fame, the U.S. Ballooning Hall of Fame and the National Skydiving Museum Hall of Fame. To date, Joe has logged more than 16,800 hours of flying time in over 93 aircraft. His adventures are detailed in his autobiography, Come Up and Get Me.
He shares his knowledge to help address the challenges of Red Bull Stratos, and as "Capcom" (capsule communications) he will be Mission Control's primary point of radio contact with Felix Baumgartner during ascent.