In 1862, ambitious scientist James Glaisher set out to do the impossible: ascend higher into the skies than ever before. A pioneer of weather forecasting and of photography,
he wanted to take ground-breaking research measurements from different altitudes.
Before aeroplanes, the only unpredictable available method of air transportation was the hot air balloon. Embarking on several journeys between 1862 and 1866, sometimes with co-pilot and experienced aeronaut Henry Coxwell, Glaisher would pack his compass, thermometers and bottles of brandy and head skyward, hoping for hospitable conditions.
On 2nd September 1862, the pair undertook what is now viewed as one of the greatest daredevil stories in the history of aviation. Rising higher and higher above the town of Wolverhampton, Glaisher started to experience 'balloon sickness'. At first his vision clouded over. His limbs began to feel heavy, and before long, movement was impossible. Coxton's hands turned black. And eventually, the pair lost consciousness. They peaked at 37,000 feet (7 miles or 11km), a height now almost always undertaken by mechanical probes and somehow together, on the verge of death, they managed to regain control of their own bodies, even record their observations, and begin their descent. They were lucky to be alive.
Written in his own words, The Aeronauts chronicles Glaisher's incredible flights and discoveries first hand, as well as his observations on those pioneers who came before and inspired him. His death-defying journey forms the story of the forthcoming Major
Motion Picture The Aeronauts, with Eddie Redmayne playing Glaisher opposite Felicity Jones as his balloon companion, Amelia Wren.