|The Lewis-Ross Flight
On July 26-27, 1958, two men set a
balloon flight endurance record of 34 hours 29
Commander Malcolm Ross and
retired Commander Morton Lee Lewis ascended in a
U.S. Navy balloon from Crosby, Minnesota, to a
height of 82,000 feet and returned to earth 40
miles northwest of Jamestown, North Dakota. The
flight set an endurance record for flights into
the stratosphere, but not for altitude. It also
set a gross weight flight record for plastic
balloons of 5,500 pounds.
The aluminum gondola that
carried the men was sealed in flight, and a sea
level atmospheric pressure was maintained inside.
To test high-altitude cosmic rays and extreme
temperatures, 10,000 insects were carried, some
inside the gondola and others outside.
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