In the early jet fighter days, nobody knew how much G-force the human body could withstand. Testing the limits of survivability came down to human testing. Today, we owe much of that knowledge to Dr. John Paul Stapp, who strapped himself into a crazy rocket sled to see just what the human body could endure.
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A military rocket train was propelled down a track at nearly nine times the speed of sound yesterday, thereby reaching a world land speed record for rail (though Guinness wasn't invited). The previous record was held by another rocket sled at about mach 8.5. Approximately three miles of the test was inside an inflated…