On August 16, 1960, he made a parachute jump from the edge of space.
Towing a small drogue chute for initial stabilization, he fell for four minutes and 36 seconds, reaching a maximum speed of 614 mph (988 km/h or 274 m/s) before opening his parachute at 18,000 feet (5,500 m). Pressurization for his right glove malfunctioned during the ascent, and his right hand swelled up to twice its normal size. He set historical numbers for highest balloon ascent, highest parachute jump, longest drogue-fall (four minutes), and fastest speed by a human being through the atmosphere. These are still current USAF records, but were not submitted for aerospace world records to the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI).
On the gondola that he jumped from, there is a plaque that reads: “This Is The Highest Step In The World.”
(Watch near the end where someone gives him the bird while helping him after he landed.)
The jump also put him on the cover of the next issue of LIFE magazine. The picture was from footage filmed on the gondola.