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A "Leg Lamp's" Amazing Journey into Near Space (via a Space Balloon)

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Old 09-18-2012, 01:37 PM
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Endobiker
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Default A "Leg Lamp's" Amazing Journey into Near Space (via a Space Balloon)

While not technically video from a plane or FPV, this video might fit best here. My friends and I recently launched a weather balloon into near space. Our goal was to send a "Leg Lamp" (from a Christmas Story) to 100,000 feet.

A mechanical failure caused the capsule to become separated from the balloon/parachute. The capsule free fell from 60,000 feet without a parachute and survived! Amazingly, all the equipment inside the capsule was recovered intact. The video shows the details...

On board, we had a Canon point and shoot (using CHDK in time lapse mode), a GoPro and a GPS tracker. I used a 3S battery to power the point and shoot using a step-down transformer. The camera took over 1,500 photos with plenty of battery to spare.

We coordinated through the FAA and gave them data to issue a Notice To Airman (NOTAM). According to FAA regulations, if the balloon is under 6 lbs, you don't need FAA approval but it is not a bad idea. Apparently University of Virginia launches balloons frequently so the regional FAA center was used to it.

A lesson learned was to NOT USE ZIP-TIES (even the heavy duty kind) to attach the capsule to the parachute/balloon. The extreme cold and the unbellievable high winds caused them to fail one at a time until the capsule detached from the parachute. The capsule was a Rubbermaid box about the size of a shoe box that was filled with Styrofoam.

Enjoy the video,
-Allen

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DJMAQBin2Nw[/youtube]
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Old 09-18-2012, 06:58 PM
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Very nice! How far from the launch site was the capsule recovered?
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Old 10-06-2012, 06:10 AM
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Great choice of prop! There are very few Christmas movies I like, but A Christmas Story is one I can watch over and over again. I'm curious- how much does it cost to do this?
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Old 11-14-2012, 05:46 AM
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Totally cool gents! Way to go.
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