Space Men on PBS American Experience -- 100% manned high altitude scientific ballooning
Wonderful show with loads of beautiful black and white and color footage going back to the first manned high altitude capsules of the 1930's which led to a space race of sorts between the US and the Soviet Union where the score was kept in thousands of feet of altitude.
Later on in this documentary first aired in 2016 the focus is on Project Manhigh.
I can't say enough good things about this documentary. Not artificially jazzed up (over the top sound and visual effects) as so many of the NOVA shows have been for years.
Space Men | American Experience | PBS
AIRED JULY 9, 2019
Space MenTHEY WERE THE FIRST TO BRAVE THE UNKNOWN.
In the late 1940s, the notion of space travel lived squarely in the realm of science fiction. But a young Army doctor named John Paul Stapp saw no limit to how far mankind could go—he had his eyes set on the heavens. By the 1950s and early '60s, a small band of high-altitude pioneers exposed themselves to the extreme forces of space, long before NASA's acclaimed Mercury 7 would make headlines. With a fraction of NASA’s budget and none of its renown, Stapp's Project Excelsior would send Captain Joseph Kittinger to a record-breaking 102,800 feet above Earth, lifted not by rocket, but by balloon. Though largely forgotten, this group of daring explorers would be the first to venture into the frozen vacuum on the edge of our world, testing the very limits of human physiology and ingenuity in this deadly realm.