David K. Stone: Auguste Antoine Piccard
Artist: David K. Stone
Auguste Piccard is best known in the aerospace field for his design of a pressurized balloon gondola and its successful application to high altitude operation. Convinced that survival in the stratosphere required a pressurized cabin, Piccard devised a spherical aluminum gondola in 1930 which could be adjusted to approximate sea-level pressure and which was equipped with a system for reusing its own air supply. On May 27, 1931, Piccard and a young assistant ascended from Augusburg, Germany, and reached a record altitude of 51,775 feet. Later on August 18, 1932, he made a second record-breaking ascent to 53,152 feet while gathering important new information about the intensity and movements of cosmic rays. Piccard's brilliant and innovative development of the pressurized gondola as well as his spectacular high altitude flights and cosmic ray research contributed substantially to the international body of aeronautical knowledge, and were important technical preliminaries to eventually putting man safely in space. Following his great success in high altitude research, August Piccard turned his considerable intellect and energy to successful deep sea research utilizing submersibles. He died in Lausanne, Switzerland, on March 24, 1962. Auguste Piccard was inducted into the International Aerospace Hall of Fame on September 14, 1991.
This painting was originally published on the Fleetwood® Auguste Antoine Piccard Commemorative Cover postmarked September 14, 1991.
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