This is the story of a father, Ron Fugelseth, who sent his son’s favorite toy train into (near) space..
“On Aug 24th 2012 we sent my son’s favorite train “Stanley” to space in a weather balloon with a HD camera and an old cell phone for GPS. He was recovered 27 miles away in a corn field. This video documents the journey from liftoff to landing.”
Mr. Fugelseth’s weather balloon reached a high point of 18 miles above the earth which is just short of one-third the distance to the Karman line (the “official” boundary of Earth and space).
-600gram weather balloon
-Motorola i290 Prepaid Cellphone (which stopped working for 4 hours in the air, not the best device, but it’s light)
-Video camera, Kodak zi6 (this did surprisingly well for being only 720p and cost $40)
-3 Foot parachute
-Foam core box I remade 3 times
-Home made radar reflector
-Micro beacon (alarm basically) for model rockets
-Hand warmers to keep the batteries from freezing
“..I called the FAA 15 minutes before launch (per their instructions) so they could make sure no planes fly into the flight path. I read and followed all their rules for weather balloon launches. It had a homemade radar reflector, and a 3 foot parachute.
Second, the box was only 2 pounds and made of foam core, with a wooden dowel to hold Stanley in front of the camera. I spent two months monitoring the winds with this website http://weather.uwyo.edu/polar/balloon_traj.html to pinpoint the general area that he would land. For safety, I launched him from a location that I knew would bring him down into farm land. The prediction website was only 5-10 miles off, so he landed safely in a corn field, far away from any towns.”
Find more updates on Mr. Fugelseth’s Facebook page