In 1935, this was the equivalent to stepping on the Moon.

Exploring And Celebrating The Stratosphere – December 11, 1935 – Past Daily Reference Room

In 1935, this was the equivalent to stepping on the Moon.

In 1935, this was the equivalent to stepping on the Moon.

. . . or click on the link here for Audio Player – National Geographic Society Awards – December 11, 1935 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection.

When U.S. Army Air Corps Captains Albert W. Stevens and Orville A. Anderson landed their Explorer II High-altitude balloon on the ground near White Lake South Dakota, they were the first Scientific Observers to reach a distance of some 72,395 feet above the earth, the highest anyone had gone before.

That the balloon was launched on November 11th, Armistice Day in 1935 was no accident as the potential exploration of outer space was intended for peaceful purposes that day, and for the future. And since it was a cooperative effort between The National Geographic Society and the U.S. Army Air Corps, both would share in the accolades.

It was a huge accomplishment. There had been several attempts prior to this and they had all failed to varying degrees. The success of Explorer II and the bringing back of much useful data to be pored over and used for future flights would eventually pave the way for Space Exploration. The flight of Explorer II on November 11th 1935 was the equivalent to the Walk on The Moon in 1969, as both were major scientific feats that had never been done before.

So on December 11, 1935, at Constitution Hall in Washington D.C., the National Geographic Society held its annual awards ceremony to honor this accomplishment.

On hand was National Geographic Society President Dr. Gilbert Grosvenor and presenting the medals to Stevens and Anderson was General John J. Pershing.

Here is that medal ceremony and addresses by Grosvenor, Pershing and the two explorers Anderson and Stevens.

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