Story on FOX, CNN, and ABC

Join our Facebook Group!

Our other websites

Landing & Retrieval

The parachute slowed down the fall sufficiently for the capsule to stay together in one piece.  The Motorola i290 managed to send out its gps location before landing. Although our the electronics suffered no damage (low impact velocity), the cell phone antenna burrowed into the ground upon landing, preventing further transmission of gps location.

We were also lucky that the capsule landed in a soft-earthed construction field with a clear view of the sky. Retrieval would definitely have been a much more difficult process had our device landed in a lake or in the forest.

Found it! Simply amazing

Found it! Simply amazing

making sure the camera is ok

Making sure the camera is ok

Inspecting the capsule

Inspecting the capsule

checking the exciting photos!
Checking the exciting photos!



150 comments to Landing/Retrieval

  • John C. Randolph

    Why didn’t you have a parachute between the capsule and the balloon?

    • Thomas

      Because the did! A small stabilizer is more then sufficient of such a small weight! Anything bigger would have increased the distance of flight during decent to much!!

  • I haven’t read anything here, so far, regarding coordination with the FAA for a high-altitude flight. Did you contact any Federal agency regarding navigation hazards??

  • Navigation Hazards?

    Navigation Hazards? This is a styrofoam box and a balloon. Get real. If people would quit worrying about FAA regulations, which still have their place (but not here), maybe we could get some real science done.

    • Anonymous

      Until that box gets sucked up into the engine of a jetliner and it comes crashing down out of the sky…

      • Reality

        ‘Because birds and other flying creatures could never get sucked into the intake of a jet…
        Throw a marble out in the street. You’ll have the same chance of a car passing by at just the right moment & the marble lodge in in the lug nut hole of the back wheel as would a plane colliding with this balloon.

  • AB

    If the capsule had hit someone or something, your MIT careers would be over.

  • Anonymous

    Hehe all the questions about rules, navigations, limitations and other bullshit. Well, it is USA isn’t it.

  • Threed Rixnor

    Lotsa killjoys and worry-tards. Hey, fun police, a foam cooler has a terminal velocity far below what it takes to injure someone. A jet engine can ingest a frozen chicken and keep running. Go inspect some local plumbing or something. Or are you justifying your gov’t/legal careers?

  • Frank Samson

    As a sanctified and certified government Styrofoam industrial and commercial usage specialist and contractor (SACGSICUS), I’m going to have to cite you for not following section 183b.145 of the RANSUM act of 1999. The polystyrene container used for this study is not certified for space travel. The container could very well have undergone explosive explosion in the near vacuum of the stratosphere. In which case, particulate matter of polystyrene would have scattered, where in its expanded form, would have continued to raise into the ionosphere creating devastating electrical storms from the friction of the Styrofoam rubbing against outerspace. The electrical properties of this material would then discharge the entire ionosphere leading to 9/11 times nine thousand.

    You have been fined no greater then $5,000,000,000,000 for this lack of foresight of our great nation’s safety and the security of its peoples.

  • Alex K.

    You see that orange thing? That’s a parachute.

  • Marc

    If people commenting about regulations would read through all the information on the website they address the “legality” issues. Also as an aviator myself, even though my aircraft doesn’t really ever exceed 30k feet, there is a reason we have windshields. As far as being able to suck down random objects into the intake, I’m here to tell you that the engine will fail. Bird strikes are a very dangerous thing, although typically below 10k feet are the only times you’ll be concerned. If a bird strikes in the intake of an engine, you will most likely have to shut the engine down for any number of reasons, or the engine will simply flame out. Another possibility is a collision on the wing surface, etc, which would probably create some level of damage.

    All that being said, good work guys. If we always reference every rule or fear some project ‘might’ or ‘should’ be against some abstract law then nothing will happen. The gov’t works for us, its not our ruler.

    I wonder if you could build one of the directional antennas from hack a day to keep cell service for longer. Maybe aim it back at the earth? My cell phone typically loses service because of tower hopping too quickly before it does because of a lack of signal strength. So in a balloon you might have more luck for something higher if you could just aim the antenna?

  • John C. Randolph

    So, with a parachute, it still got stuck in the ground?

    Sounds like you guys never flew model rockets, or you’d know how to build a safe recovery system.

  • Tom

    Couldn’t have hit the ground too hard. It’s a polystyrene (Styrofoam) cooler and it didn’t break into pieces.

    Quite an achievement. Way to think out of the box!

  • Ben

    Excellent work guys! This looks great.

    Hey I’ve got a package in Mexico I need you to drop off in California….

  • Berty & SImona

    Great job guys!!!!! That is so cool! God bless you!

  • Marc D

    Wow, very cool. Much applause and kudos. Keep up the good work!

  • Paul

    Well done – it’s guys like you that will become the next Burt Rutan.

  • SImon

    Guys, what did you write on the outside of the box?

    I figure it’s a notice to whoever found it, if that wasn’t you — I’d just like to know what you told them :-)

  • PT

    This is awesome!!

    But what suprises me is the high number responses from
    people who seem more concerned about regulations than accomplishment.
    It reminds me of my time at Microsoft….

    Please continue to lead to great things!

  • Nimitz

    Wow, congratz!

    Please come to Europe (but not the UK: these morons are on the same ways as the US of A) if your local govt/lawmakers give you any problems.

  • What did you write on the outside? :-)

  • Scott

    So, WHERE did the balloon actually land? Why isn’t the retrieval location mentioned? I’m interested in how far the balloon traveled.

Leave a Reply to Berty & SImona




You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>