This project will be headed by my son Tobey, who is 11 years old. He has always been particularly interested in science and space exploration. For his Science Project, he is determined to build and send to near space a camera to photograph the curvature of the Earth and the black space above it.
Our goal is to build and launch a payload container, which will house the camera or cameras, GPS system for tracking and recovery, and a heat source to keep the equipment from freezing at high altitudes. The payload container will be equipped with a parachute for its descent back to Earth.
We will launch all of this with a 1200 gram Helium weather balloon which should reach an altitude of approx. 90,000 feet, at which time the balloon will break, and the parachute will deploy for the descent back to Earth.
The camera(s) will be set to take pictures approximately every 20 seconds for the duration of the flight which will last 3-5 hours. This should provide a lot of gorgeous pictures of Earth's curvature and black Space above it.
We plan on launching in June as it will take that amount of time to plan and build the system. We have looked at possible launch sites and feel that east of Yakima, Wa. would be the safest place for launch and recovery. The balloon and cargo can travel for over one hundred miles from the launch site to the recovery site, depending on atmospheric conditions.
My son and I hope that with the successful launch and recovery of the payload, and the resulting pictures, that we will inspire other young kids to dream big. We will be sharing all of this with his fellow students, and maybe we can inspire other young children to collaborate on a project like this, and to accomplish things which otherwise seem out of reach.
My son is amazed that HE, by himself, with some help from you, can launch something into near space and photograph the curvature of the Earth!
1 Large weather balloon
1-2 Helium Tanks
1 GPS transmitter for tracking and locating payload
2 Canon 12mp Digital Cameras (one points back towards Earth and one points towards the horizon)
1 parachute for the descent
1 Payload container with heat source
Misc. such as Lithium batteries, antennas, lines, radar reflective material and probably a few other items.
We will be posting all of the photos online, as well as documenting the complete build on his blog. Tobey's blog is www.projectdaedalus1.blogspot.com
- (30 days)