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?

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

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Murdock (profile) says:

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.

Murdock (profile) says:

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:

DIY for $150 following these instructions from 2009:

Michael (profile) says:

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.

CJ (profile) says:


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.

Anonymous Coward says:

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.

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