Space Launch – Behind the ScenesWednesday, May 30th, 2012 at 9:47 am by Nathan Pruzaniec
It took months of planning a research and we couldn’t be more excited with the end result so we wanted to share with you what it took to launch a camera laden cooler into space. In the video we talk through everything and then if you want the nitty gritty details, everything we used is explained and linked to below. Feel free to ask any questions and definitely check out the final product!
Official Behind the Scenes Video
Our Final Product – Beyond These Walls
This proved to be the most surprisingly useful resource we found. It gave us a really good expectation of where to start heading during the GPS blackout while the balloon was at altitude. Use the ascent rate and burst altitude from the ballon you buy and descent rates from your parachute. Here are our numbers.
For the balloon we got the HAB-1000 based on approximate payload size (900 to 2300 grams) and desired burst altitude (100,000 to 110,000 feet). Also guessing.
You do want your payload to come back down safely as to not kill anyone and keep your gear intact. We used the 8ft parachute which should give a nice descent rate of about 12 MPH depending on the weight of your rig.
SPOT GPS – $120 + $150/yr service fee
If you’re going to send something into space you need to be able to find it again. For us this was the most expensive part because you have to buy the hardware plus a year of the service. This solution is so great because it works completely on satellite communication, no cell service necessary. If you need a cheap solution you could always send a smart phone with a location service running. SPOT was dead accurate and fairly reliable and you can track the results at findmespot.com
GoPro HD Hero2
Kodak Playsport ZX5
We used a combination of GoPros and cheaper Kodak rugged sports cameras. Both worked pretty well but the GoPros definitely look better, we just had some of both already handy. We sent the GoPros without
protective cases because of the pressures they would have to survive and we had to have them plugged in. Everything survived since we didn’t land in water!
If you’re doing an iPad launch this is probably the best protection you can get to keep it from shattering on landing.
The GoPro Cameras just don’t have enough juice to stay rolling the whole trip so you’re going to need an external battery or the extended battery pack
. I would suggest one of these per GoPro for a solid couple hours of record time.
To ensure you have enough record time for and hour and a half or more you will want a nice, fast, 32 GB SD card for your GoPro. 1.5hrs just barely fits on a 16GB card so it’s best to have some margin.
We used round coolers in our launches because we needed something locally at a nice size and that’s all we could find. I would recommend a rectangular cooler for easier camera mounting. This is not the cooler we used but probably what I would get next time.
We have a DSLR shoulder mount rig from redrock so we borrowed some of the rails from that for mounting which were great since they’re strong, light, and versatile.