Space

Father and son launch video camera into outer space

Father and son launch video ca...
An image of the earth and the blackness of outer space, obtained by Luke and Max Geissbuhler
An image of the earth and the blackness of outer space, obtained by Luke and Max Geissbuhler
View 6 Images
An image of the earth and the blackness of outer space, obtained by Luke and Max Geissbuhler
1/6
An image of the earth and the blackness of outer space, obtained by Luke and Max Geissbuhler
Shortly after the balloon burst at 100,000 feet
2/6
Shortly after the balloon burst at 100,000 feet
The view from the capsule at lift-off
3/6
The view from the capsule at lift-off
An image of the earth and the blackness of outer space, obtained by Luke and Max Geissbuhler
4/6
An image of the earth and the blackness of outer space, obtained by Luke and Max Geissbuhler
The space capsule that housed the camera and iPhone
5/6
The space capsule that housed the camera and iPhone
The space capsule that housed the camera and iPhone
6/6
The space capsule that housed the camera and iPhone

It’s an inspiring story that reminds you how the wonders of scientific exploration aren’t just limited to research institutions with big budgets... in August of this year, Luke Geissbuhler and his seven year-old son Max attached an HD video camera to a weather balloon and set it loose. They proceeded to obtain footage of the blackness of outer space, 19 miles (30 km) above the surface of the earth. Needless to say, there was a little more to it than just tying a piece of string around a camcorder.

Luke and Max created a miniature space capsule for their Brooklyn Space Program experiment, using a food take-out container. It contained the camera (with a peep hole for its lens), hand warmers to keep its battery warm, a “please return if you find this” note, and an iPhone, so that they could use its GPS to locate the capsule once it landed. The whole thing was coated in foam, to absorb the energy of a high-speed landing, and attached to a parachute.

The space capsule that housed the camera and iPhone
The space capsule that housed the camera and iPhone

The pair launched the balloon from Newburgh, New York, near their home in Brooklyn. Over the next 72 minutes, it proceeded to climb to over 100,000 feet (30,480 meters), encountering 100mph (161km/h) winds and temperatures of -60F(-51C) along the way. Due to the lack of pressure at such high altitudes, the balloon eventually expanded beyond its capacity and burst, sending the capsule on a 150mph (241km/h) parachute-assisted fall back to earth.

Shortly after the balloon burst at 100,000 feet
Shortly after the balloon burst at 100,000 feet

Amazingly, it landed just 30 miles (48 km) from its lift-off point, in the middle of the night. Using its external LED lamp to locate it visually, the Geissbuhlers found the capsule hanging from its parachute in a tree.

The project involved eight months of research and testing, but as you can see in the video below, the results were well worth the effort.

Via Pharyngula

Homemade Spacecraft

Homemade Spacecraft from Luke Geissbuhler on Vimeo.

16 comments
g.fosbery
Fantastic. If I had a hat to take off, It\'d be for these two. We need more of this type of stuff and more Teddy bears, if we\'re already on the subject.
Facebook User
This baloon only reached the stratosphere, not space. A balloon is limited in its maximum altitude by atmospheric buoyancy, they cannot reach space. This isn\'t slashdot or a daily newspaper, we don\'t need sensationalist headlines.
Aharon
amazing project! on a seven year old kid, this is the kind of seed that most probably will spark the curiosity that made man reach for the stars. Kudos for dad and the school behind it.
nss
This is nothing New I have been doing this for over 22 years now, we recently for a group of several hundred Boy scouts! check out the video at, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HJ0IT4ZwtSo or a flight for several thousand High School Students at, the students surrounding the launch site are the ones just involved with the liftoff, the rest are inside the auditorium, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UcLZh4LhzLY And our main page for our space program. http://www.qsl.net/wb9sbd/educators.html Enjoy
Harpal Sahota
This is great, because it just shows what everyone and anyone can do if they put their common sence forward. The brill thing is, we generally have most of the hardware in our homes to do the same. The thinking out of the box, is putting random everyday products together and creating a spaceprogram project for less than £1000!. Now why could we not do things like this in science classes at school?. I guess, with everyone trying this globally, we would end up with a lot of space debris, and problems for national aviation airways. Still, watching this gives inspiration of vision, in what we as mere humans can do if we really started to think spacially!.
GeoMoon5
What a beautiful father-son moment!
John Thomas
Fantastic! Now I want to do this!
DmanEfest
Facebook user - That\'s the beauty of a headline...it grabbed your attention and got you to read the story. Unfortunately, your reading of it was poised to find error and approached from the stand point of a cynic. Here\'s my thing, I love the edge of space and would rather see pictures at the edge of space than from space. The first caption clearly says, an image of the darkness of space. If you thought a father and son launch a video camera into the vacuum of outer space rather than even into low orbit...than shame on you. Great job you guys.
Ted Ferrer
Amazing. I was fantazing about doing something similar to this when I was still a kid. But we did not have video cameras then.
Terotech
I really enjoyed this report and video, and just read the comments to see the expected sour, po-faced, immediate reaction from our nit-picking friends. Maybe the usual one, \'facebook user\' should have realised that most readers would have known beforehand that a \'baloon\' [sic], couldn\'t reach an airless zone, but still would watch the video. Great stuff Luke and Max!