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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Brooklyn We Have Lift-Off

Great work Brooklyn Space team.

Luke Geissbuhler
2010 Brooklyn Space Program -- Video from a camera attached to a weather balloon that rose into the upper stratosphere and recorded the blackness of space.

Video Notes:

In August 2010, we set out to send a camera to space.

The mission was to attach a HD video camera to a weather ballon 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 100mph 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.

After 8 months of research and testing, we checked the weather patterns, picked our day and drove to Newburgh, New York to launch.

Because of the foam collars, the craft does not spin, but instead rocks wildly from the turbulence of a large, light object climbing 25 ft every second.

In 2 minutes, the craft disappears into the low clouds 3000 ft above the ground for a 10 minute white out.

12 minutes later at about 20,000 ft

Still rising at 17 mph, a strange electronic rythm is audible on the track. The phone tries to transmit a GPS coordinate, creating some interference as well.

40 minutes and 60,000 ft, the craft experiences winds as high as 100 mph, flipping it head over heels.

60 minutes and 90,000 ft, the balloon escapes the thermal winds and is now 18 ft across, one foot short of its burst diameter.

After 70 minutes and 100,000 ft, nearly 19 miles high, the ballon reaches its breaking point.

There's only a brief moment of weightlessness as the craft stops climbing and begins to fall.

Reaching maximum speed at approximately 150 mph, even with the parachute deployed.

Slowing to 15mph, the GPS transmits its coordinates for the first time, as it shows up on a map.

Amazingly, the soft capsule only lands 30 miles north of the lauch site due to a quick ascent and two differing wind patterns.

The camera batteries finally succumb to the cold after 100 mins of recording, a mere 2 mins from landing

The craft is found 50 ft high in a tree caught by its parachute and located in the dead of night by its external LED light shining as a beacon.

via Paul Kedrosky

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