Migration altitude

Welcome to the space elevator, the only elevator that goes to space.

As you climb, the temperature will continue to drop.

Cirrus clouds are wispy clouds made out of ice crystals.

Cirrocumulus are patchy clouds that can blanket the sky.

Cumulonimbus are tall, towering clouds that can produce lightning, tornadoes, and hail.


Mil V-12

Largest helicopter ever built

Hang Gliding

Typical altitude

NASA Helios HP01

Winged aircraft altitude record

Nimbostratus clouds are responsible for rainy days.

de Havilland Vampire

1948 altitude record

Bell X-1

First aircraft to break the sound barrier

Vostok 1

On the way to space

Learjet 45

Douglas DC-3

Blériot XI

First plane to cross the English Channel

Alpine Chough


Typical altitude

White Stork

Cessna 172

Party Balloons

Liolaemus Lizard

Highest-dwelling reptile

Mil Mi-8


Bald Eagle


Wild Yak

Himalayan Jumping Spider

Highest-dwelling spider

Vega 5b

Amelia Earhart’s plane


Highest observed flight

Bell 47

First helicopter to fly over the Alps

Bell X-2

Bar-Tailed Godwit

Flycatcher Sandwort

Himalayan flowering plant

Yellow-Rumped Leaf-Eared Mouse

Highest-dwelling mammal

Bearded Vulture


Max altitude

Above this altitude is known as the “death zone”, because there isn’t enough oxygen for human life.

Whooper Swan

Box Kite

Highest flying kite

Andean Condor

Bar-headed Goose

Sopwith Camel

WWI fighter plane

P-80 Shooting Star

P-51 Mustang

WWII fighter plane


Passenger Jet

Typical cruising altitude

Common Crane



An-225 Mriya

Heaviest plane ever built

Ruppell’s Griffon Vulture

Highest flying bird

SA 315B Lama

Highest flying helicopter

Mountain Goat

Welcome to the stratosphere.

Unlike the troposphere, the temperature in the stratosphere increases the higher you go.

The stratosphere is home to the ozone layer, which protects us from harmful UV rays.

You are currently in the troposphere, the lowest layer of the atmosphere.

The troposphere contains 99% of the water vapor in the atmosphere.

This elevator ride needs some music…

Jet streams are bands of strong winds in the atmosphere. They can reach speeds of up to 450 km/h.

Don’t worry, the elevator is pretty strong… I think.

The air in the mesosphere is very thin. It has less than 1% of the pressure as the air at sea level.

Congratulations! You have reached the mesosphere and are now halfway to space.

Sounding Rocket

V-2 Rocket

Peak altitude

This is the coldest part of Earth’s atmosphere.

Since weather balloons can’t reach this height, rockets with sensors are used to learn more about the mesosphere.

Welcome to the thermosphere, the final layer on our journey to space.

At 100 km high, the Kármán line is usually accepted as the start of outer space.

You are about to reach a place fewer than 1,000 humans have ever been.

Temperatures in the thermosphere can reach 2,500°C, but molecules are so far apart that you wouldn’t even feel it.

Highest Aircraft Ejection


This is the Armstrong limit – above this altitude your saliva and tears will boil if you don’t have a pressure suit.

Nacreous clouds are rare clouds found in polar regions. They are made of small ice particles that scatter light in colorful ways.


1933 balloon altitude record

Hot Air Balloon

Airbus Zephyr

High-altitude platform station

Monarch Butterfly

As air pressure drops, so does the temperature needed to boil water. At this altitude, water boils at just 54°C.

As the air gets thinner, there are fewer molecules to scatter light. So the sky starts getting darker.

The SR-71 is one of the fastest planes ever made. It can fly at over 3 times the speed of sound.

Now would be a good time to pick out your space suit.

It’s a bit chilly, pick a scarf to stay warm.

Perlan II

Highest altitude glider

Sud-Ouest Trident II

1958 rocket plane altitude record

F-104 Starfighter

Space Shuttle Re-entry

Maximum heat

The mushroom cloud from the largest ever nuclear test, the Tsar Bomba, reached this altitude.

Weather Balloon


Experimental hypersonic aircraft

The ash cloud from the eruption that destroyed Pompeii reached this height.

If you’ve ever wondered where your lost balloons went, at this height a typical party balloon will pop.

Highest paper airplane flight

Launched from a balloon, this is the highest a paper airplane has flown.

Felix Freefall

Felix Baumgartner was the first person to break the sound barrier in freefall. He reached a top speed of 1,356 km/h.

Congratulations! You have made it 0.01% to the moon.

Space Shuttle

Reaches max aerodynamic pressure

The mushroom cloud from the Castle Bravo nuclear test reached this altitude.

Chelyabinsk Meteor

Airburst altitude

Space elevators are actually a possible idea being considered by scientists.

They could potentially offer a cheaper and safer way of getting to space.

The hard part is making a strong enough cable. And finding enough elevator music…

Sutter’s Mill Meteor

Breakup altitude

Sprites are a rare form of lightning spotted over thunderstorms that only last a fraction of a second.

While normal lightning is around 4 km long, sprites can reach lengths of up to 50 km.

Since the speed of sound depends on the temperature, sound travels 15% slower up here.

The world’s fastest elevator travels at 74 km/h. A space elevator with the same speed would take 80 minutes to reach space.

Blue jets are a rare form of lightning that arc upward in a brilliant blue flash.


Spy plane

Noctilucent clouds are the highest altitude clouds in the atmosphere. They are only visible at night and at higher latitudes.

Most meteors burn up in the mesosphere. It’s estimated that over 48 tons of meteors hit the atmosphere every day.

SR-71 Blackbird

1976 altitude record

Caproni Ca.161

1938 altitude record

Project Excelsior

1960 skydive altitude record

With nothing but a duct-taped pressure suit, Joseph Kittinger jumped from an open gondola and set a record that would last more than 50 years.

Sukhoi Su-9

Explorer II

1935 balloon altitude record

Douglas Skyrocket

First aircraft to reach Mach 2

Saturn V

First stage seperation


High altitude balloon record

As particles from the sun hit the atmosphere, they excite the atoms in the air.

These excited atoms start to glow, creating brilliant displays of light called auroras.


Highest flying rocket plane


Chilean Flamingo

Alan Eustace’s Skydive

Current record for highest skydive

Space Shuttle

Boosters eject

VSS Unity

Falcon 9

First stage separation

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