DIY Friday: Payload into Space

Maker Faire, arguably the preeminent DIY event of the year, is next weekend in San Mateo, CA. In honor of Maker Faire and Make’s contributions to our Friday segments, let’s bring back one of their best’s – the video space podcast:

Make: is going to space! Have you ever wanted to go up into space? Well, you don’t have to win a golden ticket, be a millionaire, or an astronaut… you can send your own payload into space!

We’re using weather balloons to go up to approximately 100k feet armed with 4 cameras… 20 megapixels of camera! We’ll be taking shots every 7 seconds for two hours and measuring the temperature with the Make: controller and thermistors!

It took 16 people working on this, countless cases of mountain dew, lots of take-out food, and a lot of sleepless nights, and we intend to fly Sunday!

Cloud cover, snow, and mechanical failure may postpone the launch, but we’re ready to give it our best shot this weekend.

In this Make: Video Podcast, you’ll learn all the details of how to put a weather balloon up into space! The weather balloon will make it up to about 100,000 feet. That’s almost 20 miles up and more than twice the height of being in an airplane. It’s high enough that the sky is black and you can see the curvature of the earth.

Not exactly your average, weekend DIY project. From what I can tell from their wiki, they succeeded in getting the balloon to 109,242 feet, but since their batteries died, they have no way to track where the payload landed (and where they can acquire their photos).

Thankfully someone else made a similar trip – and brought back lots of pictures and some great video.

If you actually want to tackle this, start by buying the weather ballon. Then add-on all the gadgets and cameras you want.