Piccard's balloon gondola, 1932.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
This sealed cabin gondola was used by Profesor Auguste Piccard (1884-1962) and his asistant, Paul Kipfer, on their second ascent into the stratosphere. They ascended from Zurich on 18th August 1932 and reached a height of 53,152 feet (16,201 metres). On 27th May 1931 they had set a world record height of 51,775 feet (15,781 metres). Piccard was a scientist interested in studying the stratosphere rather than a record breaker, and this second gondola was equipped with radio and improved scientific equipment.