MSU Space Balloon First Trial Launch

Posted on: November 29, 2012

MSU Space Balloon

MSU College of Communication Arts & Sciences (CAS) instructor Troy Hale, with the help of CAS students launched a weather balloon containing five HD cameras and a GPS unit into "space." Hale launched the balloon from the Detroit/Pontiac National Weather Service Office on November 29. The balloon launch was the first of many launches aimed to retrieve surround video from the “edge of space” at approximately 100,000 ft. The balloon is tracked with an onboard GPS unit and high-definition video cameras captures the footage. 

Video footage from the balloon will be available to the media in future attempts when the balloon is recovered. The flight takes approximately two hours. The balloon rises and pops at about 12 ft. in circumference as the gas expands. The capsule then comes down under its parachute. The capsule may travel as far as 60 miles before it lands. Click here to follow the balloon's path.
“I’m doing this because it’s fun. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do, and it’s a great way for students to learn how to conceptualize and carry out a documentary project from start to finish,” Hale said. “Plus, this is the closest I’m going to get to being an astronaut.”
The video from these space balloons will be displayed in a future museum installation. The first will be at Impression5 museum in Lansing. The installation will allow kids to sit in the middle of projection screens all around them and “ride” the balloons into “space.” The plan is also to launch the balloon from Spartan Stadium in East Lansing during the MSU football season in fall 2013.
The project is part of a documentary film being produced by MSU. Project and Film Director Troy Hale will be at the launch along with two CAS students that are working on the project, Kirk Mason and Erik Tobeler. Project supporters include balloon expertise by NOAA, helium by East Lansing local business Balloons Galore, and GPS service by SPOT. Project sponsors include MSU School of Journalism; MSU Department of Telecommunication, Information Studies and Media; and Impression 5.
Hale is a 19-time Emmy award winner and is well known in the broadcast community for his creative storytelling work in film production. Hale teaches telecommunication and journalism courses in the Department of Telecommunications, Information Studies and Media and is also a Media Sandbox faculty member. For more information on Troy Hale, click here.
For more information and a pitch video of the project go to:

Media coverage:

WDIV Channel 4, Detroit

Detroit Free Press

Listen/read more on WKAR

Lansing State Journal

State News

Chatham Daily News

London Free Press

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