San Francisco hackerspace Noisebridge launched a balloon to the upper atmosphere, capturing numerous excellent photos as well as one super spinny video.
Declaring a week’s advance notice of a balloon launch to the edge of space when we hadn’t even bought most of the equipment, let alone built it, was probably an act of pique, if not madness. Remarkable how well it worked out, though.
The plan was simple: a ham radio broadcasting an APRS position beacon, a GPS that was known to work at high altitudes, a camera hacked for time-lapse photography, and an Android cellphone that we’d program to scream out its own GPS co-ordinates via SMS whenever it caught a glimpse of a cellphone network.
They thought they’d lost the balloon at one point, and just when they were sitting down at Denny’s to commiserate, the balloon’s onboard G1 sent a SMS and they were able to recover the payload. Whew!