Medal commemorating the first free balloon stratospheric flight of Professor Auguste Piccard (1884-1962) and Dr Paul Kipfer, in the balloon FNRS, from Augsburg in Germany, on 27 May 1931. Piccard designed a spherical, pressurised aluminium gondola allowing ascent to the great altitude of 15,781 metres without requiring a pressure suit; he gathered much data on the upper atmosphere and studied cosmic rays. This was the first of 27 balloon flights. The design shows the balloon above the clouds, over a cityscape of Augsburg. Made by the Bavarian State Mint.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library