The highest altitude obtained by an air-breathing jet propelled aircraft (manned), in an uncontrolled ballistic trajectory is 37.65 km (123,523 feet) set by Alexandr 31 August 1977. The highest altitude obtained in a controlled horizontal flight is 25.929 km (85,069 ft) set by Robert C. Helt and Larry A. Elliott, in a Lockheed SR-71, on 27th/28 July 1976.
The highest altitude obtained by a manned rocket airplane (launched from another aircraft) is 111.996 km (367,441 ft, or 69.9miles) by Brian Binnie in the Scaled Composites SpaceShipOne on 4 October 2004 at Mojave, CA.
On October 4, 2004, SpaceShipOne rocketed into history, becoming the first private manned spacecraft to exceed an altitude of 328,000 feet twice within the span of a 14 day period, thus claiming the ten million dollar Ansari X-Prize. In addition to meeting the altitude requirement to win the X-Prize, pilot Brian Binnie also broke the August 22, 1963 record by Joseph A. Walker, who flew the X-15 to an unofficial world altitude record of 354,200 feet. Brian Binnie's SpaceShipOne flight carried him all the way to 367,442 feet or 69.6 miles above the Earth's surface. The Ansari X-Prize was founded in 1996, modeled after the Orteig Prize that Charles Lindbergh won in 1927 by flying solo across the Atlantic Ocean. The October 4, 2004 SpaceShipOne flight was timed partially to coincide with the 47th anniversary of the Soviet launch of Sputnik.