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britSpaceBalloon_2.jpg

From the Daily Mail article on the flight

Another day, another amateur storming heaven with a spacecraft built from pocket change and stuff found laying around the house. Here, British amateur scientist and inventor, Robert Harrison, captures amazing images about 22 miles above sea level. His styro and duct tape “craft” houses a digital camera, camera servo, AVR MCU, radio transmitter GPS (module) GPS/GSM (tracker), temperature sensors, and power supply (battery). As the BBC reporter says at the end of the above piece “more budget missions to the edge of space” are planned. Oh goody! [via HacDC e-list]

Icarus Project (Robert’s project page)

Who needs a Space Shuttle? Amazing pictures of Earth captured by one man, a balloon and his compact camera (Daily Mail story)

Yorkshire space enthusiast records Earth using balloon (BBC story)

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Gareth Branwyn

Gareth Branwyn is a freelancer writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture, including the first book about the web (Mosaic Quick Tour) and the Absolute Beginner’s Guide to Building Robots. He is currently working on a best-of collection of his writing, called Borg Like Me.


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Comments

  1. Jason says:

    It’s typical that mainstream media reports this as if it is something new. People (including students) have been launching weather balloons carrying cameras and GPS devices for quite a while now.

    That said, it’s always good to see another successful mission completed!

  2. Matthew says:

    Pretty sure the reporter says “more budget missions”

    As Jason says, it’s all been done before, including recently on the BBC’s own popsci programme “Bang Goes the Theory”:

    1. Gareth Branwyn says:

      Yeah, you’re right. Went back and listened and he is saying “budget.” Dang it. I thought he was using my fave British slang term (bodge, bodging, bodger). Oh well, my mishearing gave me an idea for my next Maker’s Dictionary column (in the Make: Newsletter).

    2. earthshine says:

      The Balloon Launch on the BBC program “Bang Goes The Theory” was actually done by Robert Harrison. The BBC just kept that fact secret during filming.

  3. aenigma says:

    There is actually a competition going on right now (Hackerspaces In Space http://workshop88.com/space/) to see which team can successfully launch and retrieve a balloon with pictures of near space. The idea is not to just do it – has been done before many times – but rather see how cheaply, quickly, and efficiently it can be done. I do like the graphic they made of the mission. Very USA Today-ish.

    1. Norman says:

      I would really like to try something like that. Unfortunately, I live near the East coast of Florida and according to the balloon trajectory predictor in the rules for the competition, my camera would land about 100 miles out in the Atlantic. I don’t own a boat.

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