Support the Arctic Sea Ice Forum and Blog

Author Topic: The film about the first flight into the stratosphere  (Read 412 times)

ArcticMelt2

  • Grease ice
  • Posts: 720
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 146
  • Likes Given: 32
The film about the first flight into the stratosphere
« on: December 07, 2019, 11:52:56 AM »
It is an amazing story how in the middle of the 19th century people's craving for weather forecasting led to the first flight into the stratosphere. This flight did not even use spare oxygen, two researchers almost died from suffocation at an altitude of 11 km.


ArcticMelt2

  • Grease ice
  • Posts: 720
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 146
  • Likes Given: 32
Re: The film about the first flight into the stratosphere
« Reply #1 on: December 07, 2019, 12:02:01 PM »
A real description of that flight without feminism.

https://www.ssplprints.com/image/103066/mr-glaishers-voyage-5-september-1862

Quote
Crayon drawing showing the scientific balloon ascent made by the English meterologist James Glaisher (1809-1903) on 5 September 1862. In his efforts to determine the nature of the upper atmosphere, Glaisher persuaded the British Asociation for the Advancement of Science to sponsor a research programme using balloons. The BAAS employed English aeronaut Henry Coxwell (1819-1900) to build a large balloon for the series of ascents from the Wolverhampton Gas Works in the West Midlands. On the final ascent on 5 September, the balloon, which was christened 'The Mammoth' and had a capacity of 90,000 cubic feet, reached a height of 37,000 feet (11,278 m), breaking the altitude record and making Glaisher and Coxwell the first men to enter the stratosphere.



http://www.historywebsite.co.uk/articles/BalloonFlight/Flight.htm

Quote
In 1862 the British Association of Science had selected Wolverhampton Gasworks as a suitable location for a research balloon flight because it was sufficiently far inland to prevent the balloon from being blown out to sea, and the gasworks could supply the gas to inflate the balloon.

Henry Coxwell was approached for the flight, and he undertook to build a suitable balloon at his own cost.

The balloon was 55 feet in diameter, and 80 feet high, with a capacity of 93,000 cubic feet.

Quote
Their third and most important flight took place on 5th September 1862 from Stafford Road Gasworks, where there was a plentiful supply of town gas for the balloon.

On the day Glaisher filled the balloon basket with 17 scientific instruments and they lifted off at 3 minutes past one.

During the flight he intended to constantly monitor the instruments to discover the quantity of moisture that the air carried at different altitudes.

The balloon rose into the cloud at 5,000 feet, and broke through it onto a plateau of cloud.  Glaisher described it as follows:

On emerging from the cloud at seventeen minutes past one, we came into a flood of light, with a beautiful blue sky without a cloud above us, and a magnificent sea of cloud below, its surface being varied with endless hills, hillocks, mountain chains and many snow white masses rising from it.

Quote
At 29,000 feet Glaisher began to have problems. He had difficulty seeing clearly and could not see the column of mercury in the wet bulb thermometer, or the hands of the watch, or the fine divisions on any instrument. He soon lost the use of his arms and legs and fell into unconsciousness.

Coxwell later claimed that he was so cold and paralysed that his hands ceased to function, and turned black from lack of oxygen. It seemed that as the balloon rose even higher, the occupants were doomed to die. As the air pressure reduced, the envelope would have expanded until it finally burst, at which point the balloon would plunge to the ground.


Quote
Coxwell claimed that he managed to grip the balloon’s rip chord in his teeth, and after three tugs the balloon started to slowly descend. He then let more gas out, to control the descent. It was an extremely narrow escape from death.

As the balloon continued its descent, Coxwell attempted to rouse Glaisher, who soon regained consciousness and immediately continued to monitor the instruments and make his observations.

He was a determined scientist who would stop at nothing to get his results. He had been unconscious for about 7 minutes.

When Coxwell told him that he had lost the use of his hands, Glaisher poured brandy over them.

The whole flight took about 2½ hours. Glaisher thought that they had reached an altitude of 37,000 feet, around 7 miles. A world record at the time. He found that as they went higher there was less moisture in the atmosphere. This discovery alone enhanced out understanding of how and where clouds form, and advanced our understanding of rain.

The descent, which was at first very rapid, was effected without difficulty at Cold Weston. It had been one of the greatest journeys of Victorian exploration. A prodigious, and scientifically significant feat.

ArcticMelt2

  • Grease ice
  • Posts: 720
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 146
  • Likes Given: 32
Re: The film about the first flight into the stratosphere
« Reply #2 on: December 07, 2019, 12:13:18 PM »
After 13 years, the French wanted to break the British record of 1862. Despite the excellent preparation and oxygen tanks, two of the three researchers died at an altitude of only 8,6 km.

https://www.sciencephoto.com/media/642153/view/theodore-sivel-french-naval-officer

Quote
Sivel died on 15 April 1875 during the ascent of the balloon 'Zenith' to 28,000 feet (8600 metres) near Paris, France. He and fellow aeronaut Joseph Eustache Croce-Spinelli (1845-1875) died from lack of oxygen at the high altitude. French author and scientist Gaston Tissandier (1843-1899) survived the ascent.

Probably the luck of the British in 1862 is due to a more correct choice of season for the flight - September is warmer than April.

The record of 1862 lasted about half a century.