The View from 100,000 Feet

I love these student projects that send a camera via a balloon high in the atmosphere to film the view of Earth below. Here’s another from a group of German students who were able to film in HD from an altitude of more than 100,000 ft. (30,480 meters). Enjoy the music, too.

“Our challenge was to survive ambient air pressures as low as 1/100th of an atmosphere, temperatures as low as -60°C and finally to locate and recover the Camera,” Tobias Lohf wrote UT. “We had a HD-Cam, GPS tracker and a heating pad on board, and all the construction had a total weight of about 1kg.”

The rest of the team included Marcel Dierig, Tobias Stodieck, Tristan Eggers and Marvin Rissiek and they hope to inspire other students to try the same project. “All you need need is a camera, weather balloon and Duct Tape,” they said.

10 Replies to “The View from 100,000 Feet”

    1. Really enjoyed the flight! Especially when the ballon blew up. The curvature of the earth is spectaclar!

  1. don’t they come in path of commercial planes? 1 kg of mass is enough to cause damage to blades.

    1. Good point.

      Yes, they do. And they don’t, there is no recorded weather balloon striking an airplane:

      “There is a danger but experience shows it is extremely small.”

      As for mass, 1 kg is not a certain damage:

      “The energy of a 5 kg (11 lb) bird moving at a relative velocity of 275 km/h (171 mph) approximately equals the energy of a 100 kg (220 lb) weight dropped from a height of 15 metres (49 ft).[9] However, according to the FAA only 15% of strikes (ICAO 11%) actually result in damage to the aircraft.[citation needed]” [Wikipedia.]

      The most hazardous phase seems to be take off, which presumably is not a factor here.

  2. Man, I really need to try this. Need some kind of gimbal attachment to stop the camera box swinging around so much.

    Also, a second empty balloon attached via a pressure / altitude valve to the first one. (Helium expands until it bursts the balloon right?)
    At around 60 Km however you would need to fire additional thrust, so I think hydrogen would be better, Small lox tank, and a way to light it all up.

    I think the Record balloon altitude is just under 60km. 🙂

  3. If anyone had told us 25 years ago that in 2011 schoolboys would be making these kind of experiments, people would have told you, “No I don’t think that it will ever be possible to do for schoolboys”

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