[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Cz4s8potWE&w=600&h=368]

The folks at HacDC have now done four successful “spaceblimp” launches. The latest took place this past Sunday (April 10) in Maryland. They write:

We launched from Breezewood Elementary School? at 1:30 pm, the balloon popped at 2:41 pm at 103,764 ft, and touched back down at 3:09 pm. Again, we were exceptionally lucky with the recovery and were able to drive up to within 200 ft of the package.

The group has done three previous launches in the 60,000 to 75,000 altitude range. For Spaceblimp 4, they bought a really big balloon and dumped a whole tank of helium into it. In the video above, you see 80 seconds of the Big Blue Marble, up to the point of apogee, at 103K+ feet, before the balloon pops (which is pretty cool to see).

You can find out more about HacDC’s space program on the link below:

HacDC Spaceblimp Wiki

Check out MAKE Volume 24:
MAKE blasts into orbit and beyond with our DIY SPACE issue. Put your own satellite in orbit, launch a stratosphere balloon probe, and analyze galaxies for $20 with an easy spectrograph! We talk to the rocket mavericks reinventing the space industry, and renegade NASA hackers making smartphone robots and Lego satellites. This, plus a full payload of other cool DIY projects, from a helium-balloon camera that’s better than Google Earth, to an electromagnetic levitator that shoots aluminum rings, and much more.