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Extreme goals: Kirby, who has been nicknamed 'The Jet', hopes to notch 1,000 flights by the time the circus's two-year tour of the US ends

Daring feat: Gemma Kirby is the human cannonball at Circus Xtreme. The 25-year-old, from Minneapolis, Minnesota, flies out of a cannon at up to 66mph and lands 104ft away in an air bag

Privilege: Last year, while working toward her bachelor's degree in psychology, Kirby was contacted about being shot out of a cannon for Circus Xtreme. She's a rare woman in a secretive, exclusive world

From "The History of 5 Deadly Circus Stunts" - "the original design for the [1977] catapulting system...used rubber springs for propulsion...The cannon's design was upgraded in 1922 by Italy's Zacchini Brothers, who replaced the rubber springs with compressed air."

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