Fun & Games Science
Romanian Teenager Puts Space Shuttle Back in Space

On January 5, 2012, Raul Oaida posted the following update to his blog:

On the 31st of December I launched the Black Sky project payload with two HD cameras. I recovered the rig ~240km away (320 km on the highway) in excellent condition from a hillin a remote area. I wasn’t able to use the NewTrent external battery for extra camera videotaping time so the 2:20 h video cuts out before the balloon burst at about 30-33km. I used a 1600g balloon with a SPOT GPS tracker for the recovery. I will submit a more detailed posted after the 16GB in flight video is edited and uploaded to youtube, the ”payload” was a LEGO space shuttle.

About a month later, he posted the embedded video to YouTube.  The entry on his blog from that date kinda says it all:

This was all done by me.

He had problems getting the necessary permits in his native Romania, so the launch took place in Germany.

2001: A Brick Odyssey

[Thanks, Alan Dove!]

22 thoughts on “Romanian Teenager Puts Space Shuttle Back in Space

    1. LOL. You’re kidding, right?

      If not, just watch the video. The shuttle is hanging from a high altitude balloon by strings, along with the video camera that got the pictures. =]

  1. 100 KM is space. Please stop spreading misinformation. Every month or so, someone launches a helium balloon with a camera. While it is always cool, and worthy of news, the ignorant media always claims space.

    1. Per wikipedia:

      “There is no firm boundary where space begins. However the Kármán line, at an altitude of 100 kilometres above sea level, is conventionally used as the start of outer space for the purpose of space treaties and aerospace records keeping.”

      Neither treaties nor aerospace records are at issue, here. Nor, I would add, did we use the more specific term “outer space.” We have not spread misinformation, nor are we “ignorant.”

      You might as well argue that the Romainian teenager in question did not, in fact, put the actual space shuttle back in space, but a Lego replica of it, and that the headline is thus “spreading misinformation.” Our headlines tell stories; if we wanted them to read like titles in a scientific journal we would write them that way.

  2. Calling anything on a balloon “space” or “near space” is about as absurd as calling SCUBA diving deep sea diving.

    There is not an “official” definition of where space begins because there are so many different criteria (radiation, sensible atmosphere, Karman limit, Armstrong limit, etc.) but the stratosphere is WAY below any reasonable definition of space. Many of these so-called “near space” balloons don’t even reach the altitudes possible with jet (air breathing) aircraft.

    1. I suppose we can argue about what’s reasonable in this context if it really is that important to you.

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I am descended from 5,000 generations of tool-using primates. Also, I went to college and stuff. I am a long-time contributor to MAKE magazine and My work has also appeared in ReadyMade, c't – Magazin für Computertechnik, and The Wall Street Journal.

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