The British journalist and TV reporter
May recently presented a BBC documentary
about his experience in flying in a U2 spy
plane to an altitude of 70,000 feet (13mi,
21km). The program followed him through
a couple of days of training and then a
four hour flight.
The maximum altitude reached is far below
the 62 mile/100km space boundary but the
sense of being extremely high, the thinness
of the atmosphere below, the curvature of
the earth, and the black sky above were
all very vivid to him. It is quite clear
in the program that the experience has an
enormous emotional impact on him. He seems
quite stunned by it all.
When space toursts are boosted upward to
38 mi/61 km on a XCOR
Lynx I or above 100km on a SpaceShipTwo,
Origin Shepard, Lynx
II, or other suborbital rocket, the
experience will be even more of a stunner
for those lucky enough to get the opportunity.
The complete 30 minute BBC program is available
on Youtube in three parts: Part
2, and Part
3. The clip
below includes additional footage of
his flight that was not shown in the program.