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A note of appreciation to Dr. Jim Bales of the Edgerton Center at MIT for sponsoring the helium for our project.

Thanks to the Hwang Family for donating 200 dollars at the beginning of the project.

31 comments to Acknowledgement

  • Dann

    Was wondering if you ever plan to post specifics on how you setup the box/balloon/parachute. I feel like for the most part what is told is enough to figure it out but the main idea im worried about if i wanted to reconstruct this is how you put the camera in the box? Did you just cut a hole for the camera to look out? Did you cover the hole it was photographing through with something like plexiglass? and what is to stop the lens or hole cover (if there was one) from frosting over on the way up?

    • Mark

      I wanted to know this too.

      • Nathan

        it looks like the parachute was part of the rope, with the balloon on top, like having a toy parachute man, you hold it on the top to keep it closed till you throw it, in this case, when the balloon pops. sealing the box so it is air tight would be a Bad idea, cause then the inner pressure would make it pop, like the balloon cause the gases inside would expand as it went up. the closer you are to space, the greater the vacuum of space is.

    • Al

      the parachute is between the box and the balloon, with the tether going right through the middle of the parachute. when the balloon pops, the line continues to stream above the chute. the chute will open on its own if it’s just hanging there on a line that’s already pulled tight. look at their launch pictures. you can see the red parachute hanging in the middle of the line.

    • Matt

      The moisture and condensation isn’t a problem. There isn’t much moisture at all at 90,000 feet. The air is very dry up high. The only time you might get some condensation on the lens, would be if it passed through a cloud. If the camera lens were significantly warmer than the outside air, then you might get some condensation, but even then, you’d have to pass through a cloud. Have you ever taken a camera from inside your warm house, to the outside on a really cold day? The lens will fog up. But it goes away when the lens cools down to the same temperature as the outside air.

  • Matthew Middleton

    Here’s an idea. Use the balloon idea to get as high as possible with a launch pad on it. Then use a model rocket with a camera on it to get much higher. It could go quite a way, since the air is so much thinner up there.
    A crazy idea, but I wonder if they have radio controlled rockets to steer. But I don’t know if a radio controlled model will send a signal +20 miles, and the response time would probably be too slow.

    • Mike

      Ham (amateur) radio operators regularly talk to astronauts on the International Space Station which orbits over 200 miles above the Earth.

      Many of the latest 2-way radios can operate over land for 10-12 miles, straight up (no obstacles) would allow increased distance.

    • G Bulmer

      Matthew, that idea to launch a rocket from a balloon platform is the “Martlet” project at CU Spaceflight:

      Their goal is to exceed 100Km.

      It is an autonomous system, and not remote controlled. I believe it is intended to accelerate at 10′s of G, with a burn time of a few seconds, so human remote control would be less relevant.

      They are also working on a steerable return system (

      They receive telemetry from the balloon using only 10mW of transmitter power from the balloon, and have maintained contact to several hundred Km from balloon to ground.

      They have a recent experiment with an uplink distance upto 190Km (


      • Adil Jaffer

        Message for G Bulmer.

        In response to a comment made by yourself re. leading/running a project taking the learnings from the Icarus Project into schools, I am interested and can commit time/energy etc.

        How can I get in touch?

    • This is a good idea – but not in the ultra-low budget class. Model rockets are cheap enough, but would only add a few hundred metres (perhaps a thousand) to the final altitude. Larger rockets, which might add a few km, are quite heavy (several kg or more) and would need a much larger launch balloon. In any case the thin air does not help very much, since most of the work is against gravity, not air resistance, and gravity is virtually unchanged at these altitudes.

  • Thiago

    congratulations, enjoy the great opportunity that you have!!

  • Paul

    Get Canon to sponsor you and see how high you could get for say $1000 of equipment

    • Dooleey

      Heck yea, now that would be really cool… And I think cannon would be in for such a thing… Considering the media attention it already got for the 150$ camera…

  • Thomas Diefenbach

    I think as a classroom team project it is terrific. What is even better I think is if someone sets up a website so that classrooms from around the world can do this and submit their photos to it…in a way to bring the children of the world together…

    • G Bulmer

      I strongly agree with you, “I think as a classroom team project it is terrific.”
      Have you the development skills to participate in building it?

      I would like to have both photo’s, and a repository of science experiment results so that school children can investigate near-space and share their data and analyses. I’d like it to be part of a larger site, but I am worried that UK concern about interactions between adults and children may make a unified site difficult to achieve.

      I don’t expect to have a ‘kit’ suitable for UK flights until 2010 (so anyone else working on a low-cost system suitable for the UK, please post, I am more than happy to collaborate or follow).


  • Mario

    gooooood Job :) .

    So can you get higher if you using more than one Ballon like 2 with an half of Fill like one ?

    So in Space there are more place for Balloon extention.

    Posible ?


  • The other Paul has a great idea. I bet Canon would love to sponsor you with some refurbished equipment or some cash. This project has been great exposure for their brand name.

  • BS

    I think it would be cool to do another launch and get schools from across the country, or world even, to do a simultaneous launch! We currently launch weather balloons from our campus on a regular basis and so we already have a number of the supplies handy.


    you guys rock. I am a photographer and shoot ONLY with Canon – you should contact Canon yes, for additional sponsorhip funds and do it again. however, using a ‘better’ camera may not be possible because of the 4lb weight limitation. You could get a somewhat higher grade camera though but not much more. The photos were great! I liked the all black one, when the baloon popped and you could see little pieces of the baloon exploded with the all black background making the baloon pieces themselves look like little planets or stars. This was killer, you guys should bask in the glory and perhaps make premade kits and sell them on the internet for 499 or something – make yourselves some money, and be sure to use those FAA disclaimers. But who am I? Safety / Schmafety. Good job!

  • cody291

    wow that wuz soooo wicked congrats on ur ocompleshment :)

  • Did you analyse the benefits of replacing helium with hydrogen? You get more lift for less money (in theory – it may be harder to get small cans of hydrogen). Hindenburg notwithstanding, hydrogen is not particularly dangerous if handled properly.

    Wonderful project – my hearty congratulations!

  • Jackie Lapierre

    Haay there boys!
    WOW! the sky looks incredible. Just Giving You a shout oout from canada! You opened up alot of peoples eyes; its not just the government that can go into space, you can too! .. well; sorttof into space.
    Keep up the amazing work!

  • I am currently in the process of replicating your guys’ project for fun and wanted to say THANKS! Awesome job and I hope you guys use this as a catalyst for bigger and better things. As a Navy pilot, I am always looking for new ways to get up in the sky, even if I’m not there. Once again, awesome job and keep up the sweet work.

  • Andrew

    Well done guys. Back in the 1980′s I used to launch radiosonde equipped weather balloons to the same height twice a day here in New Zealand. I often thought about putting a camera on one but cameras were not as cheap as they are now and digital cameras were unknown to the general public. On one flight the balloon went straight up in clear weather and when it reached 30km I went outside to see if I could see it and sure enough there it was. I can see why anyone who saw it would be adament they saw a UFO. I was tracking it by radar and after it burst I was able to locate it (well part of it) visually with a theodolite when it got a bit lower. It landed only about 3km away. As someone mentioned earlier, I would use hydrogen as its much cheaper and of course 4 times lighter. You just have to be careful when filling and launching. Keep up the good work.

  • LaunchMeAwayScottie

    Yeah we just did it this weekend. We had no issues with condensation until the way down, but we didn’t care by that point… We made our payload super light and had a bigger balloon so we could get it over with quicker. We rightfully feared the killer jet stream over where we live we didn’t want to launch it and land it 500 miles away. It still landed 80 miles away despite the fact that it launched and landed in about 2 hours.

  • How come you guys never answer email?

  • Anonymous

    how old are you

  • Jonathan

    Hello, I am going to do a similiar project as a group project in my school,I’m wondering if you could be a little more specific about data and how exactly you build it. Like a picture of the whole thing, from the balloon to the styrofoam beer cooler :) , would love to hear from you!, all the best, love from Sweden.

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