Guy Sends Camera Up 100k Feet To Photograph Space (And Gets It Back Safely)

from the nicely-done dept

With the recent fighting over NASA funding, a lot more interest has been put on private space flights by companies like SpaceX (and, indeed, the new funding bill encourages NASA to make more use of such efforts). But it's neat to see that you don't have to be a company or the government to at least launching something that gets a good ways up towards space (if not really that close to the border). One guy named Luke Geissbuhler (with his kids and some friends) launched a video camera 100,000 feet into the air connected to a weather balloon. The video is amazing (or if you don't have the time to watch the whole thing, beneath that, there's a still shot from the apex:


As Geissbuhler notes in the video:
In August 2010, we set out to send a camera to space.

The mission was to attach a HD video camera to a weather balloon and send it up into the upper stratosphere to film the blackness beyond our earth.

Eventually, the balloon will grow from lack of atmospheric pressure, burst, and begin to fall.

It would have to survive 100 mph winds, temperatures of 60 degrees below zero, speeds of over 150 mph, and the high risk of a water landing.

To retrieve the craft, it would need to deploy a parachute, descend through the clouds and transmit a GPS coordinate to a cell phone tower.

Then we have to find it.

Needless to say, there are a lot of variables to overcome.
The results are impressive, to say the least. Of course, if you want to quibble, 100,000 feet really isn't space. Some would argue it's not even that close to space (though, the images sure are impressive), but to those who are quibbling: how high have you launched an HD camera via a balloon and then retrieved it?


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 5th, 2010 @ 11:56am

    See also:
    http://www.tomsguide.com/us/Camera-Space-Photos-Earth-Balloon,news-6255.html
    maybe that guy should have patented "sending a device into space to take images" and prevented this new guy from doing it with video?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    icon
    chris (profile), Oct 5th, 2010 @ 12:17pm

    Re:

    there was a competition among american hackerspaces to launch space balloons:
    http://www.workshop88.com/space

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    identicon
    John Doe, Oct 5th, 2010 @ 12:43pm

    How do you avoid planes?

    I didn't read the article so maybe it answers the question, but how do you do this and avoid aircraft?

     

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  4.  
    icon
    Murdock (profile), Oct 5th, 2010 @ 12:55pm

    Re: How do you avoid planes?

    You don't have to avoid planes. What you have to do is send up a balloon and package that are under specific FAA weight requirements so that if a plane did intercept them there would be no damage.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    icon
    Murdock (profile), Oct 5th, 2010 @ 12:58pm

    Not that big a deal really..

    Not sure why this is showing up on Techdirt honestly.

    My buddy Ian did this up in the northwest last spring, I personally will be doing one this spring all to 100K+

    Here is another story from March:
    http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/balloon-camera-duct-tape-shoot-earth-pictures-space/story?i d=10210658

    DIY for $150 following these instructions from 2009:
    http://hackaday.com/2009/09/19/high-altitude-balloons/

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    identicon
    ReallyEvilCanine, Oct 5th, 2010 @ 1:02pm

    Re: Re: How do you avoid planes?

    Which weight requirements would those be? Which section of the FAR defines this?

    You utter ninny.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    icon
    Chronno S. Trigger (profile), Oct 5th, 2010 @ 1:12pm

    Re: Not that big a deal really..

    Yes, it's been done before, but it's still freakin' cool.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    icon
    Murdock (profile), Oct 5th, 2010 @ 1:30pm

    Re: Re: Re: How do you avoid planes?

    That would be FAR 101.1

    4) Except as provided for in §101.7, any unmanned free balloon that—

    (i) Carries a payload package that weighs more than four pounds and has a weight/size ratio of more than three ounces per square inch on any surface of the package, determined by dividing the total weight in ounces of the payload package by the area in square inches of its smallest surface;

    (ii) Carries a payload package that weighs more than six pounds;

    (iii) Carries a payload, of two or more packages, that weighs more than 12 pounds; or (iv) Uses a rope or other device for suspension of the payload that requires an impact force of more than 50 pounds to separate the suspended payload from the balloon.

    No need for name calling.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    identicon
    Bobby Marko, Oct 5th, 2010 @ 1:36pm

    Re: Not that big a deal really..

    An interactive agency in Minneapolis, MN, Sevnthsin, did this a couple weeks ago: http://yaviniv.sevnthsin.com/

    They've documented the whole process at that site.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    identicon
    interval, Oct 5th, 2010 @ 1:46pm

    This is simply 'cool'

    'nuff said.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    icon
    Murdock (profile), Oct 5th, 2010 @ 2:18pm

    Re: Re: Not that big a deal really..

    I shouldn't down play the accomplishment, it still isn't easy. I'm just curious what prompted this one to make it on TD vs. another.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    identicon
    Near Space Sciences, Oct 5th, 2010 @ 3:11pm

    Balloon Flight 22+ Years

    We here at near space sciences have been doing this for over 22 years now, check out our last flight video at. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HJ0IT4ZwtSo

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
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    CJ (profile), Oct 5th, 2010 @ 3:28pm

    Regardless...

    It is still cool. I had read somewhere that the FAA was checking rules to see if there were any laws broken. Must not be because there are many doing this sort of thing now. I would not mind doing a project myself with the children in the neighborhood. Plus family members children. It would be something that would be forever etched in their minds. Plus may even motivate a few.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
    identicon
    trilobug, Oct 5th, 2010 @ 4:13pm

    Right On!

    Okay that fuckin' awesome.

    Father of the year, this beats the shit out of the science experiments I did with my dad.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
    identicon
    thesunalsiorises, Oct 5th, 2010 @ 5:35pm

    Re: Re: Re: How do you avoid planes?

    You sir, are a douche.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 5th, 2010 @ 5:52pm

    What a waste.

    The nation's Helium reserves were privatized under GW Bush and this guy is wasting helium on that?

    Wow.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
    identicon
    anthony, Oct 5th, 2010 @ 7:18pm

    NASA hoax

    I believe this to be hoax.
    As in the faked Apollo missions, there are no stars visible!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
    icon
    Near Space Sciences (profile), Oct 6th, 2010 @ 6:27am

    Heilium NOT!

    We here at Near Space Sciences hs never used Helium. We use renewable Hydrogen just like the weather service. For all 22+ years of doing these flights. all 50 of them so far!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
    identicon
    Michael, Oct 6th, 2010 @ 6:41am

    Re: Re: Re: Not that big a deal really..

    The TechDirt crew does not read every blog out there. Perhaps they did not read the hack-a-day posts a few months ago, or some other new stories last year that had this.

    They get submissions and read stuff they like to read and then post about what they think is interesting.

    So, not all of it is going to be breaking news. It is a discussion on topics they find interesting and they think their readers will find interesting.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
    icon
    Danny (profile), Oct 6th, 2010 @ 1:57pm

    Re: How do you avoid planes?

    You launch your balloon into the 99.99999999999% of space where there are no aircraft. Tricky, but managable.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 11th, 2010 @ 5:01am

    As I read these unconstructive comments from people who have learnt nothing from their years on this planet except how to swear, sneer and belittle others far more intelligent use of their brain power than they will ever achieve, I realise with a clarity they will also never achieve why mankind does not move foward and prefers instead to remain in the dark ages building nuclear weapons, killing each other for no reason and starving itself to death.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
    identicon
    raoul duke, May 8th, 2013 @ 6:41pm

    Re: Re: Re: How do you avoid planes?

    FAR part 101, douche bag

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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