On This Day in History / July 28, 2023 July 20, 2023 1934: Maj William Kepner and Captains Albert Stevens and Orville Anderson reached 60,613 feet in altitude in a 3-million-cubic-foot, hydrogen-filled balloon, the Explorer I, during a flight financed by the National Geographic Society. The flight began at 5:45 a.m. from a “natural bowl” site near Rapid City, S.D. When the balloon reached 60,613 feet, it developed several tears and the crew decided to descend. The balloon burst at 3,000 feet on descent and the three men had to parachute to safety. They all received the DFC.