Joe Kittinger – a real life Icarus who didn’t crash

Colonel Joseph Kittinger Jr, a decorated fighter pilot, a prisoner of war who survived eleven months in the “Hanoi Hilton” and a balloonist who set a world record by flying 2,000 miles across America while ditching all his ballast, has died. But his best known daredevil exploit was making a parachute jump in 1960 from an aircraft 20 miles above the earth on the edge of space. He was the long-time record holder for such a jump until overtaken by Felix Baumgarten in 2012.

  Kittinger’s jump was from a helium balloon above New Mexico and he almost reached the speed of sound before he could open his chute, falling 102,800ft in all. It was his third attempt – on the first the chute became tangled round his neck as he fell and he passed out. He woke again when a reserve chute opened a mile above the ground. On the final attempt his pressurization suit failed to inflate around one hand but he ignored it. He said later: “I was struck with the beauty of it. But I was also struck by how hostile it is: more than 100 degrees below zero, no air. If my protection suit failed, I would be dead in a few seconds. Blood actually boils above 62,000 feet.”

  He was born 27 July 1928 Tampa, Florida, and had a predominantly Fire chart with a Leo Sun Venus trine Uranus in Aries trine Saturn (Moon) in Sagittarius with Neptune also in Leo. His Sun was in a confident, lucky square to Jupiter in Taurus and his Mars in Taurus was square Neptune.

  Fire is inspirational and has an unshakeable self-confidence, partly driven by a sense that their guardian angel will rescue them from danger. Bil Tierney says: “His faith in himself as well as his sense of personal protection from harm is so ingrained that he may be willing to attempt anything disregarding impossible odds.”

 When he made his jump on 16 August 1960 his Solar Arc Uranus was conjunct his Jupiter; his Solar Arc Jupiter was conjunct his Gemini North Node and tr Pluto was conjunct his Solar Arc Sun. Hugely challenging but the fates were willing him on.

  His ‘searching and seeking’ 7th harmonic was strong and lucky.  His breakthrough-genius 13H was marked out for dangerous exploits. And his extreme-stamina 16H was also well aspected.

   Felix Baumgartner, the Austrian skydiver, who broke his record with a jump of 127,852ft on 14 October 2012 had  Kittinger as an adviser. He was born 20 April 1969 and is a completely different temperament. He has a Sun Taurus (or final degree Aries) conjunct Saturn in Aries on the focal point of a Yod to Neptune in Scorpio sextile Jupiter (Pluto) in Virgo. He does have a chunk of Fire from Venus in Aries trine Mars in Sagittarius – and his Mars is in a do-or-die determined, risk-taking square to Pluto. His abundance of confidence would come mainly from his Jupiter Pluto conjunction as well as an ego-driven Sun Yod focal point conjunct a tough Saturn in Aries.

  When he jumped in 2012 tr Jupiter was exactly opposition his Mars with his Solar Arc Mars exactly square his Saturn and tr Neptune square his Uranus – some luck, real jeopardy and high anxiety.

I am in awe of the courage/idiocy of such men – which isn’t envy since the whole notion makes me feel ill.

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