PetaPixel

Dad Sends His Son’s Toy Train to Space, Creates Short Film Showing the Journey

Sending a camera up to the edges of space on a weather balloon has been done quite a bit now, but perhaps none of the projects have been as creative as Ron Fugelseth’s effort. Ron worked with his 4-year-old son to give his son’s favorite toy train Stanley a fun and exciting ride to space. They built a rig consisting of a weather balloon, a styrofoam box, an HD video camera, and an old cell phone for GPS. Stanley was then attached to the outside of the box using a rod, positioned so that the camera would be perpetually pointed at Stanley with the world in the background.

When Stanley got to 18 miles above ground, the balloon popped, ending the trip up and abruptly starting the rapid journey back down. Using the GPS information, Fugelseth was able to recover the rig 27 miles away inside a corn field.

He then took the BTS and journey footage, animated Stanley’s eyes, and created the beautiful short film seen above that documents the entire project from start to finish.

Fugelseth writes in the video’s description,

My 4 year old and Stanley are inseparable like Calvin and Hobbes. He’s been attached to him since he was two, and they play, sleep and do everything together. I animated Stanley’s face with After Effects and Photoshop to bring him to life how I imagine my son sees him.

Here’s the original video I made of my son and Stanley when he was 2 years old, same basic concept.

He also includes some safety tips and words for warning for anyone who would like to attempt the same thing:

First off, I called the FAA 15 minutes before launch (per their instructions) so they could make sure no planes fly into the flight path.

Second, the box was only 2 pounds and made of foam core, with a wooden dowel to hold Stanley in front of the camera.
I spent two months monitoring the winds with this website to pinpoint the general area that he would land. For safely, I launched him from a location that I knew would bring him down into farm land. The prediction website was only 5-10 miles off, so he landed safely in a corn field, far away from any towns.

I didn’t want Stanley to be a murderer. Plus I wanted to make sure my son got Stanley back. :)

Good job Fugelseth. You definitely deserve some kind of Dad Award for doing such an awesome project with your son!


 
  • Samcornwell

    I just cried.

  • http://www.patobrienphoto.com/ Pat O’Brien

    This is amazing

  • http://twitter.com/_photostorys PhotoStorys

    Amazing.

  • http://twitter.com/JacksonCheese Jackson Cheese

    That put a big smile on my face. Thanks for sharing!

  • http://twitter.com/ohnostudio Libby Stack

    Dad Of The Year for sure!

  • http://www.facebook.com/MarkDDickinson Mark Dickinson

    I just died

  • me

    Fantastic!!

  • http://twitter.com/tonybelonie Anthony Harrison

    The trains faces! A+

  • mohawksan

    Genius. What a fantastic movie. Just superb

  • http://www.facebook.com/alvin.w.gee Alvin W. Gee

    Wonderful concept and great execution.

  • http://twitter.com/Skyshyne Ghill Tochon

    Lovely…..that dad is so cool!

  • annelle

    Sending this to my grandsons who love trains. Loved it.

  • Mansgame

    Pretty cool. What are the legal issues to do something like this?

  • ceebee

    wow!

  • http://twitter.com/PatDownsPhotos Patrick Downs

    I LOVE this … can’t stop watching it. Thanks for sharing.

  • Romain_Lemondequitourne

    This little boy can say he owns the only train that went into space !

  • omordah

    Talk about a feel good video! That’s a great dad.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=695530812 Emanuel Brunson

    Awesome, awesome, awesome!

  • Dave Collyer

    legend

  • GatsO0

    Fake

  • http://twitter.com/anthonyrivers Anthony Rivers

    Let me add to the chorus. This entire idea is fantastic and well executed. And as a dad, there’s something extra special about it. My son would be through the roof with excitement if one of his trains went to space.

  • James

    Magic :D

  • Reed Saxon

    Great job! But what is the co-star’s name? Dad, how about putting your kid’s name in the credits?

  • Adam

    Some fathers make great dads too :)

  • brob

    that is one cool dad.

  • ch

    you made my day mate.

  • Wayne

    Ron: Your son will remember these moments for his entire life and I am sure share the story many times as an adult. Good Show Sir!

  • http://twitter.com/PaulJay2011 Paul Jay

    Sure, and the sun revolves around the earth.

  • Barbara Wear

    That was so fantastic. What a dad! what a movie! I am passing this on.

  • Tony Allen

    Brilliant! What a wonderful idea.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Llewsgal Ingrid Morgan-Lazaro

    That’s just fantastic, I love the effort you went to to do this for your boy, he will treasure it always…. :)

  • miss me

    the son is so lucky to have a father like you
    :)