Before Felix Baumgartner, There Was Joseph Kittinger

Kittinger set the record in 1960 for longest skydive ever.
3:00 | 10/15/12

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Transcript for Before Felix Baumgartner, There Was Joseph Kittinger
-- -- we have a fascinating story to tell you about a fearless daredevil who helped pioneer the US space program. Joseph Kissinger is getting high praise this morning Washington the air and space museum is set to honor the men set multiple records in ballooning and parachuting. Including a free fall from outer space. ABC's John Karl has more. If that was a giant leap what do you call this. How about the most daring individual -- of the space age. In 1960 Joseph kidding -- Richard twenty miles above earth in -- helium balloon and then. -- that oppressive lord take care of me now. And I jumped out. And by the way as -- as -- -- prayers to the life. It remains the highest sky -- ever the longest freefall. And the fastest any human has ever traveled without an engine has kidding her win up. He noticed heavier than expected cloud cover because of that cloud coverage you can't even see. The ground that you're going to be landing no but I knew it was there. I -- that god was there -- knew that the planet earth through but beneath me. As matter of fact I came within a quarter of a mile of where I was -- land. -- -- free fall lasted more than four minutes he would some 700 miles per hour the speed of sound when -- -- -- -- I said lord thank you very much for that job. Thirteen minutes 45 seconds after jumping. He was back on earth it was a lot of relief and all of our minds that moment and I was I was -- I was happy as I could. But funding for the program dried up kidding -- was sent to Vietnam his feet largely unnoticed. Now nearly fifty years later book runs getting the air and space museum's highest honor this. Puts you well aware. -- -- -- which is right there with people like John Glenn and Neil Armstrong is the real pioneers of of the space program. Well yes we we're we're the -- part of the space program. We -- the -- astronauts for Good Morning America Jonathan Karl ABC news Washington.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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