In June 2014, five friends in Arizona planned to send a
GoPro, a camcorder, and a phone up in a weather balloon to record some footage
of space. Bryan Chan, Ved Chirayath, Ashish Goel, Paul Tarantino, and Tyler
Reid, all college students, built their gadget, calculated its trajectory,
registered with the FAA to avoid interfering with passing planes, and then
launched the balloon in the desert a few miles outside of Tuba City.
They intended to use GPS on the attached smartphone to
track the balloon’s movement, but as the device floated out of the cell phone
tower range, they lost communication with the locator.
The group had been wondering for months if they would ever
get their balloon and cameras back. In actuality, they would have to wait two
years to realize the benefits of their project. They got a call from an unknown
number after 2 years, saying that a hiker in Arizona had discovered a bizarre
box with their names on it 50 miles from their original launch place.
When the team was reunited with their gear, they were able
to witness the incredible video and photographs that the cameras had
produced–including a stunning “money shot” of the Grand Canyon captured from
the stratosphere (above).
The group of friends also had the opportunity to analyse
the data from their equipment, discovering that the balloon had reached a
height of 98,664 feet and had flown for 1 hour and 38 minutes.
You can watch the recorded video below.