This photo was taken from an air balloon hovering over 85,000 feet from earth. Note that the balloon was not manned, but this is the next logical step. Why spend millions on a space trip when you could take an air balloon to space?
"Images were taken at 2 minute intervals. The balloon was launched from a farm near Northwood, ND, and recovered by Gently, MN. The flight lasted two hours, but there was only enough film for the first 72 minutes. This flight carried two cameras, one pointing straight down and the other horizontally out the side."