The Edge of Space: Project Man High II
At 11:00 PM one August night in 1957, Dr. David Simons climbed into a small capsule on a flatbed truck at Winzen Research, Inc. in South Saint Paul, Minnesota. The Winzen plant made the 200 foot wide balloon for this adventure.
The truck then proceeded the 140 miles north to Crosby, Minnesota. The truck carrying the capsule arrived at Portsmouth Mine at 5:10 AM. At 9:22 AM Otto Winzen yelled, "Let her go!" and Man High II began its flight.
Dr. Simons was in the capsule for a total of 44 hours and reached an altitude of 110,000 feet. He collected much valuable information on altitude effects on the human body, which was later used by NASA. He was the first person to see the curvature of the earth from space. He found the sunset and sunrise particularly moving. He also realized the stars were not twinkling due to lack of atmosphere.
Area residents took note of the balloon but most had no idea of the significance of the event. They thought it was just another weather balloon.
After a flight of 32 hours, Dr. Simons landed in a flax field on the South Dakota/North Dakota border.
The Soo Line Depot Museum has an exact replica of the capsule on display. It was constructed by Jeff Kreitz of Breezy Point, MN.
In 2007, Cuyuna Iron Range Heritage Network celebrated the 50th anniversary of the flight with special guest Dr. David Simons.
L to R, Dr Marceco Vazquez, Space Radiation Liason; Dr. David Simons, Man High II; Dr Duane Graveline, NASA astronaut