Send your Pentax into space

When I first read about techniques for aerial balloon photography, I thought it sounded like a fun project…

aerialballoon

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Then I read about these teenagers, who sent their camera into space:

Proving that you don’t need Google’s billions or the BBC weather centre’s resources, the four Spanish students managed to send a camera-operated weather balloon into the stratosphere.

Taking atmospheric readings and photographs 20 miles above the ground, the Meteotek team of IES La Bisbal school in Catalonia completed their incredible experiment at the end of February this year…

…”The balloon we chose was inflated with helium to just over two metres and weighed just 1500 grams,” said Gerard. “It was able to carry the sensor equipment and digital Nikon camera which weighed 1.5kg.

“However, when we launched at 9.10am on that morning the critical point for the experiment was to see if the balloon would make it past 10,000m, or 30,000ft, which is the altitude that commercial airliners fly at.”

Due to the changing atmospheric pressures, the helium weather balloon carrying the meteorological equipment was expected to inflate to a maximum of nine and a half metres as it travelled upwards at 270 metres-per-minute.

“We took readings as the balloon rose and mapped its progress using Google Earth and the onboard radio receiver,” said Gerard.

“At over 100,000ft the balloon lost its inflation and the equipment was returned to the earth…

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More photographs are here at their Flickr site.

Some students from Oklahoma State sent their Pentax on a similar journey. Their description of how it was done is in English.

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About marypmadigan

Writer/photographer (profession), foreign policy wonk (hobby).
This entry was posted in Travel. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Send your Pentax into space

  1. Bruce Parker says:

    Since they aren’t transmitting the picture as a live feed, they have to recover the camera, which means a (relatively) soft landing and being able to find it before some one else does. I wonder how many trials this took before they were successful.

  2. Mary says:

    According to the article the “travelled 10km to find the sensors and photographic card, which was still emitting its signal, even though it had been exposed to the most extreme conditions.”

    I think the camera was crushed, even though it was encased in foam

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