The most breathtaking photographs imaginable: the black of space, the blue and white skies and the distinct curvature of the earth truly make you feel as if you are in orbit.
On August 12, 1960, NASA launched the world's first communications satellite, Echo 1, onboard a Thor-Delta rocket. Echo, designed and built at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, was unique in that it was not a satellite in a conventional sense; it was a huge balloon. On June 21, 2004, Scaled Composites' SpaceShipOne became the first private vehicle to reach space. These two technologies - private spaceflight and high-altitude balloons - are being combined by hobbyists worldwide to capture photographs from the stratosphere, 30 km into the skies.
We are a team of aerospace enthusiasts who are attempting to photograph the Earth from near space utilizing such high weather altitude balloons.
High altitude weather balloons are able to hoist cameras to near-space (120,000 feet maximum altitude), providing a panoramic view of the Earth that shows its curvature and beautiful views of the landscape. We hope harness this incredible and all-too-rare perspective via cameras positioned on five different balloons. When we are able to recover enough HD photographs from twenty miles above the ground, we will weave them all together to create a book describing the design process, launch, and results. Although we have already launched two balloons (see video), the cameras on board were not suited to the cold and shut off, so we did not recover any photos. With more money, we will have the ability to purchase better cameras as well as more advanced materials. We aim to launch five high altitude balloon flights in the next year with a variety of photography configurations, all of which will be joined together in a single book.
In order to complete our project, we are hoping to acquire the following items:
- 2 GoPro Hero 2 HD Cameras
- 3D casing for GoPro cameras
- 1 Pocketfinder GPS locator with locator service
- 5 helium tank rentals
- 5 600 g weather balloons
- 1 1200 g weather balloon
- Payload container and other supplies (duct tape, string, etc.)
- (20 days)