Hanging a camera from a weather balloon and using it to snap photographs from the edges of space has become quite a popular project for space and photography enthusiasts as of late. If you want to try your hand at it, but don’t have the time, energy, creativity, or resources to create the space vessel yourself, NYC-based industrial design company Quirky is working on a product just for you.
Called the Kepler Space Kit, it’s a ready-to-fly balloon camera rig that lets you easily start your personal space photography program. Read more…
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. Read more…
On December 31st, 2011, Oaida Raul decided pay a tribute to the recently-retired Space Shuttle program by creating a GoPro video of a Lego Space Shuttle model traveling up to the edges of Earth’s atmosphere on a weather balloon. You can read an in-depth description of the mission and the components used — the entire project was launched and completed in a span of about a week — over on Raul’s blog.
A couple weeks ago, 17-year-old Canadian teens Mathew Ho and Asad Muhammad successfully sent a Lego man and four cameras to the edges of space on a weather balloon and captured photographs of the figurine posing with a Canadian flag at 78,000 feet — three times the cruising altitude of jets. They spent $400 on materials and four months of free Saturdays planning, buying, making, building, and testing:
[...] the two scoured Craigslist and Kijiji for used point-and-shoots. They needed Canons, which can be programmed to take photos every 20 seconds without stopping.
Next they sewed the parachute. “By no means are we, like, seamstresses,” says Ho. “We broke like, what, four needles? It was ridiculous.”
[...] Finally, they assembled the whole thing, carefully carving out space inside the Styrofoam container for the three point-and-shoots, the wide-angle video camera, and a cellphone with a downloaded GPS app. They super-glued their Lego astronaut to a gangplank on the outside, and printed off a Canadian flag for him to hold.
The vessel completed a 97-minute journey and captured plenty of footage and photos along the way. You can view a gallery of the images here.
Photographer Edouard Janssens recently sent a weather balloon equipped with a Sony NEX-5 and a GoPro HD to the edges of space. While this isn’t exactly a novel idea, the GoPro camera managed to capture footage of a jet airliner whizzing by at roughly the same altitude!
Sending cameras to the edges of space on a weather balloon has become a pretty popular activity as of late, but up to now people were mostly sending up cell phones, compact cameras, and small HD video cameras (e.g. GoPros). While those devices are light and relatively cheap, the quality of images produced isn’t the best.
Well, Texas Tech students Erich Leeth and Terry Presley recently decided to step things up a notch by using a Nikon D300s and Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 lens for their space photography. Their craft, which consisted of a 22-foot weather balloon filled with helium and a styrofoam beer cooler purchased from Walmart, rose to an estimated 100K feet before the balloon popped. A parachute then brought the pricey gear safely back down to Earth. The entire project took just 13 days from start to finish, and the duo managed to capture some pretty neat photos from the edge of space.
Luke Geissbuhler and his kids decided they wanted to send an HD video camera high into the stratosphere, so they spent eight months researching and testing for their project before finally launching their Go Pro Hero HD-laden balloon from Newburgh, New York. The balloon rose for 70 minutes to a height of 100,000 feet (19 miles) above the Earth before popping.
The video includes audio, so you get to experience what it looks and sounds like to be floating 19 miles above the Earth, surrounded by the blackness of space.
Viral marketing agency The Viral Factory is helping Samsung with an experiment in which they’re planning to drop 100 SD cards attached to paper airplanes from 21 miles above the Earth in the stratosphere. Instructions will be printed on the paper airplane informing anyone who finds one of the experiment and what they can do to participate. Finders are encouraged to shoot with the cards and then upload anything taken to the Project Space Planes website.
The claim that the planes will “carry the messages across the world” is a bit farfetched, but supposedly the planes could potentially travel hundreds of miles depending on the wind conditions. The experiment is planned for mid-October. Read more…
Pacific Star is a photography project by Colin Rich in which he sends programmed cameras up to epic heights using homemade weather balloons. This is an interesting step-by-step look into what went into the second launch. After purchasing two Canon compact cameras on eBay, Rich programmed them to take 3 photos every 3 minutes, and shoot a minute of video every fourth minute. The cameras were then insulated in styrofoam, and sent up to 125,000 feet before the balloon burst. With the help of a parachute, the cameras descended for 35 minutes and landed about 15-20 miles away.
We’ve seen photos and videos of cameras launched before, but this one is interesting, informational, and well made.