Awesome: Father & Son DIY Satellite Captures HD Video from 100,000 ft.

by Nancy Atkinson on October 6, 2010

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This is a great: amateur rocketeers Luke Geissbuhler and his son Max launched their own DIY satellite via a weather balloon from New York, and using an HD video camera captured some amazing video of the contraption’s rise to near the edge of space (closer than a lot of us will ever get, anyway….) and its plummeting fall. You gotta love their enthusiasm and their “flight tests” at the beginning of the video. It might help that the Dad is a photographer that works in Hollywood films, but then again, I think Max’s countdown and lollipop were the real impetus behind the successful mission. They were able to track the device with GPS, and recover the camera. Lucky for us!

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Nancy Atkinson is Universe Today's Senior Editor. She also works with Astronomy Cast, and is a NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador.

Manu October 6, 2010 at 10:45 AM

Max, you’re a lucky guy. I’m jealous as black space. =)

When I was about your age (waaay back) an actual weather balloon fell in our garden. That was pretty exciting for me at the time. I distinctly remember the radar reflector, and a little battery box with a light bulb that might have served the same purpose as that LED; and a return card the finder was encouraged to send back to the French weather service. We did, and my parents received months later a reward cheque for something like 2 Francs!

leon October 6, 2010 at 11:11 AM

We are very lucky to still have true adventurers amongst us.
Nothing to gain except experience and knowledge—–very cool.
Luck boy too, to have a dad insire him with extrordinary skills and the awe of space.
Watching this made my day.
Good luck with further ventures!!!!!!!!

Olaf October 6, 2010 at 12:32 PM

It is amazing that the camera and iPhone survives the trip. I would expect something to burst inside at that height.

Aqua October 6, 2010 at 3:12 PM

The chemo hand warmers were a great idea! What a fun adventure!

Uncle Fred October 6, 2010 at 3:14 PM

What kind of rocket would have been required at 100 000 ft. to put it into a stable orbit?

Aqua October 6, 2010 at 5:42 PM

Balloon assisted launch has quite a few hits at Google… I like http://academy.grc.nasa.gov/y2008/group-project/proposal-for-a-balloon-assisted-launch-system

But the bottom line as noted in part from the above is: “….no end product is currently capable of orbit insertion using this method.”

Too bad about that! I wonder what Burt Rutan would put on the table for a aircraft-balloon hybrid high altitude launching system?

Uncle Fred October 6, 2010 at 8:58 PM

Not even with some kind of rocketeer approach? Seems like a good way to get orbital on the dirty cheap for small loads…

Olaf October 6, 2010 at 11:29 PM

Hanging that high is great but you still need to accelerate to 28.800 km/h to get in orbit.

Dori October 7, 2010 at 6:48 AM

I nominate Max for NASA’s (nonexistent) Kid in Space Astronaut Program!

Seriously, the entire team involved with this should be very proud of itself. Quite a wonderful achievement!

Dark Gnat October 7, 2010 at 8:35 AM

Just don’t put the boy in the baloon. That didn’t go over too well last time.

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