1960s Operation Hi-Ball
Richard Zakia (photography) provided these photos of an event
that occurred around 1960, in the early days of space flight.
A group of enterprising photo students planned their own
launch into near space using a large helium-filled balloon with
a suspended, remote-controlled camera.
Zakia recalls that
the event drew a great deal of attention. Winnie Vaughn was named
Miss Hi-Ball, pictured here with George Pittman 64,
co-captain of Operation Hi-Ball.
The balloon got
off the ground and up in the air successfully as the crowds cheered,
says Zakia, but soon it made an unscheduled landing atop
of the church at the corner of Spring Street and Plymouth Avenue.
This problem was compounded
because the balloon carried an explosive detonator intended to
collapse the balloon in case of emergency. Eventually, with police
diverting rush-hour traffic, firemen were able to extricate the
If you have additional
information about this event, wed love to share it with
readers. Write to Kathy Lindsley, University News Services, Rochester
Institute of Technology, 132 Lomb Memorial Drive Bldg.
86, Rochester, NY 14623. E-mail can be sent to