Space Balloon Post Launch Wrapup

published on 2011-09-12 in photography , science , video


the blackness of space at 100,000
The image above is a picture taken at 102,000 feet over Nashville back in April, from our Space Balloon.

Yep, the balloon launch back in April was a success. As was the presentation that Marc, Jared and I did at Emma Talent Night. It was actually far better than I could have imagined. We kept the whole project a secret right up until the night of the show. For weeks, people were watching us tossing parachutes out windows and messing with flashing lights and cameras. It really built up some great suspense. By the time the night finally arrived for the big reveal of our 'talent', the audience was actually chanting "SPACE! SPACE! SPACE! SPACE!". It was epic, really, for a bunch of nerds to get up and talk about sending a balloon to space in the middle of 2 dozen other awesome music, singing, magic and other acts. And get cheered at during the process. While drinking. Truly one of the most awesome things I've ever done.

Enough gushing, down to the data.

This data was recorded by our flight computer, an on board micro Arduino with 2 different sets of 1-Wire temp and barometric sensors and a 3-way gyro.

Avg ascent rate: 4.89 m/s (10.9 mph)
Avg ascent rate first hour: 2.32 m/s (5.19 mph)
min temperature : -59.116 F
max altitude : 102,496 ft (19.4 mi)
min air pressure : 930pa (0.93% surface)
max descent rate : 245 mph

-59 F! Wooo wee that's cold! The 245 mph speed was with the chute open! See, the air is so thin up there that even with the chute open it was screaming towards earth. At more reasonable altitudes, it slowed down to a more lazy pace of 15 mph. The height we achieved was 102.5K feet. That's almost 20 miles! One of our other calculations shows 106k feet so it was in that range somewhere.

On to the videos and pictures:

This is what we showed at the talent show after we got up and gave our talk about the balloon, more of a quick documentary of the process. It always makes me laugh watching our first two parachute drop tests. Especially on the second one when Pamela laughs at us. Music courtesy of 84001 (my co-worker Jimmy's band).

This is the music video I put together for 84001, to be shown while they played live music on stage. It's various trippy time lapse and spacey stuff and about 10 minutes of balloon footage that starts around the 2:20 mark and the burst occurs at around 7:10...the music in this video is basically the same set they played live. The 3 cameras in the balloon filmed a total of 8GB of data across 3.5 hours, of which you are seeing less than 2% here:

More pictures, on Flickr with some video as well:
The actual slideshow, complete with graphs and stuff, from the Presenation:

Thanks to Marc and Jared for making this a super kick ass fun science project. I can't wait for the next one. :-)

Tags: arduino photography science space video