Balloon launch

I’ve been working with a team from Tech Shop RDU to put together a helium balloon as part of the Hackerspaces in Space contest.

Basic idea, build a balloon with a camera and gps, and try to get pictures of the curvature of the earth and the blackness of space. And I think we did.

We actually made two launches, the first included my camera (Canon sd850, running CHDK firmware, and a script to take a pic every 15 seconds and log some basic data). We thought we lost it after the gps transmitting via a ham radio data connectio stopped transmitting, but someone found it in Wendell, NC and called us.



The team also made a second launch that day. We thought the first one was long gone, so put together a second launch from spare parts. I had to leave early so didn’t get to help out with the second launch though. Mk II was a simpler setup, with just a Spot gps tracker and a nikon point and shoot camera with a built in intervalometer. It looks like it was able to fly a little higher, probably due to the reduced weight (first capsule was about 3.5lbs, I think the second one was closer to 2).




I think the current estimate for the second balloon launch is somewhere in the 80,000 ft range. It is definately high enough to see the curvature of the earth and the thinning and the black of space in the photos.

We had a lot of people show up to watch the first launch.


Near Space Balloon

Adrian and the Balloon

Near Space Balloon

We even maanaged to get a fair amount of press coverage, including a segment on the local news ,WRAL

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Photos provided by lintqueen, and clubjuggler, and Ncnearspace