Second MSU Space Balloon Launch a Success!

Posted on: July 2, 2013

Space ShotThis past Sunday, CAS instructor Troy Hale and two of his students launched the MSU Space Balloon containing five HD cameras and a GPS unit into space.

The weather balloon was launched from InterMet Systems Headquarters in Grand Rapids, Mich. It was the second of many launches aimed at retrieving surround video from the edge of space.

Last year, the capsule landed in Lake Eerie and Hale couldn't retrieve the footage.

A lot of things go right and some things don't go right, Hale said. This year, we teamed up with Intermet Systems in Grand Rapids, and they launch things like this all of the time. They know what they're doing, and while we still couldn't guarantee success, the odds were in our favor this time.

Once the balloon was launched Sunday, it was tracked with the onboard GPS unit and the video cameras captured the footage.

Space Balloon RetrievalAfter the launch, it took about three hours for the gasses inside of the balloon to expand and rise to 105,000 feet before popping, sending the capsule down under its parachute. The capsule with all equipment intact was retrieved just outside of Holland, Mich., 35 feet up in a tree and was recovered by CAS student Kirk Mason.

The nice thing about working at MSU is that I get to do projects I want to do, Hale said. There are lots of videos where someone puts one camera in a balloon, and I thought it'd be cool to put more in there to see space at all angles.

Video footage from the balloon is available to media upon request and will also be displayed in a future children's museum installations. The first will be at the Impression 5 Science Center in Lansing, where kids will sit in the middle of five projection screens and will seemingly ride the balloons into space.

The Space Balloon launches are part of an ongoing documentary project that Hale and Media Sandbox students are creating. Check out the special Space Balloon website.

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