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Old 10th October 2010, 13:31   #1
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Thumbs up DIY --> Homemade Spacecraft

Like many youngsters, and those young at heart, seven-year-old Max Geissbuhler and his dad dreamed of visiting space and armed with just a weather balloon, a video camera, and an iPhone, in a way they did just that.

The father-and-son team from Brooklyn managed to send their homemade spacecraft up nearly 19 miles, high into the stratosphere, bringing back perhaps the most impressive amateur space footage ever. The amazing footage starts at 2:35 minutes in the video below



Source:
Father and son film outer space, do-it-yourself style | Yahoo! Green

Last edited by dhirajs : 10th October 2010 at 13:33.
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Old 10th October 2010, 14:16   #2
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Awesome video... surely it had a high risk of losing it, since its so close to the Hudson and the Atlantic...
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Old 10th October 2010, 14:33   #3
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Simply mind blowing, both the idea and the result. Goes to prove that given a little ingenuity, even simple ideas can bring fantastic results.

Hats off to the people involved
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Old 10th October 2010, 15:05   #4
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Seriously amazing! Really lucky it landed where it did and they were able to easily locate it!

Thanks for this link dude!
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Old 10th October 2010, 17:12   #5
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My God!!! Such an amazing attempt. Really great to see the spirit of an individual. Thanks for sharing the link @Dhiraj.
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Old 10th October 2010, 19:45   #6
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Thats some amazing stuff.

By the way I remember seeing such stuff only in cartoons where a Balloon could take some character through space and then he falls back on earth. Never knew it was possible.

Also, This guy has the best Apple iphone now, its from space na?
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Old 10th October 2010, 20:03   #7
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This is not the first time this has been done.However he took only pics.

I did some searching on the net and found it.A guy named Robert harrison hit the headlines when he captured stunning pictures of the space using a canon camera and a ballon.

He put a Canon camera in a Polystyrene box,covered it with duct tape to insulate the camera from extreme changes in temp(plunging to -40) and low pressure.He also made a small circuit and programmed it turn the camera on every minute or so take a picture and turn it off.

As the helium ballon keeps on the rising the difference in pressure causes it to expand and burst at 22 miles or 35 kms or 116,160ft( commercial jet flies at 30,000ft)

The box lands softly parachuted to the ground.

He got a call from Nasa the next day after he posted the pics.They thought he was using a sounding rocket.

This guy has a dedicated website too,he now trying to break the balloon world record.

www.robertharrison.org - Welcome
Journey into space with a balloon and duct tape - Times Online
Attached Thumbnails
DIY --> Homemade Spacecraft-article126032308d8f2e9000005dc445_964x719.jpg  

DIY --> Homemade Spacecraft-article126032308d8f28e000005dc347_964x719.jpg  

DIY --> Homemade Spacecraft-article126032308db2427000005dc722_964x504.jpg  

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Old 10th October 2010, 23:03   #8
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Wow great accomplishment!!! thanks for sharing.

Last April i send a hot air balloon to some 10000ft+,it had two pay loads(paper planes) both got released at around 1000feet i watched it for 20 minutes and it disappeared into clouds, me too thought of attaching a small camera but i was feared of loosing it.Now i got this idea, Gps!!

Last edited by splitsecond : 10th October 2010 at 23:05.
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Old 11th October 2010, 08:22   #9
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Now what happens if these experiments cross with a flight that is flying at 30 or 40K altitude? Wouldn't this become a serious issue causing the entire flight to crash?

And how are these balloons made to burst after reaching certain altitude? I couldn't understand this.
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Old 11th October 2010, 10:16   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aargee View Post
And how are these balloons made to burst after reaching certain altitude? I couldn't understand this.
Its 10th standard science . When the inside pressure becomes more than the outside pressure, the size of the balloon increases, and eventually bursts.
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Old 11th October 2010, 10:26   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by splitsecond View Post
Wow great accomplishment!!! thanks for sharing.

Last April i send a hot air balloon to some 10000ft+,it had two pay loads(paper planes) both got released at around 1000feet i watched it for 20 minutes and it disappeared into clouds, me too thought of attaching a small camera but i was feared of loosing it.Now i got this idea, Gps!!
Cool. I'm thinking of trying something like this in the future. Although putting a digital camera and a GPS at stake isn't my idea of fun. :P

Quote:
Originally Posted by aargee View Post
Now what happens if these experiments cross with a flight that is flying at 30 or 40K altitude? Wouldn't this become a serious issue causing the entire flight to crash?
There's a chance, yes, the the probability is very low.

Picture this. You throw a ball vertically upwards, and ask a fried 100m away to hit the ball with another ball he has in his hand. Even if someone attempts a collision this way, there's a very slim chance that a collision would occur. So the probability of two randomly launched objects, one of which changes its altitude steadily [The balloon], to collide would be very very less. I'm sure if someone works out the numbers, there will be a higher probability of some mechanical failure on the plane than of the collision.

Quote:
And how are these balloons made to burst after reaching certain altitude? I couldn't understand this.
I think fluid mechanics and gas laws can help on this.

...after 10 minutes.

You know what, this made for a very interesting problem. The answer to your question was simpler, but googling on this led me to understand the exact mechanics behind a balloon, which happen to be very interesting.

For your question, at the surface, the pressure inside and outside the balloon is equal. When it rises, the internal pressure is maintained by some mechanism, like heating of internal air in hot air balloons, but the outward pressure decreases rapidly. According to Wikipedia, this leads to an expansion of 100 times in the balloon. This expansion causes it to burst.
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Old 11th October 2010, 10:26   #12
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^^^ So are you saying that the balloon material is chosen to withstand the pressure only upto 35 Kms only? But again, if I remember reading somewhere that the outer space of earth begins are 80 Kms. So at 35 Kms, the instrument is still not in space right?
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Old 11th October 2010, 10:33   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aargee View Post
^^^ So are you saying that the balloon material is chosen to withstand the pressure only upto 35 Kms only? But again, if I remember reading somewhere that the outer space of earth begins are 80 Kms. So at 35 Kms, the instrument is still not in space right?
There is no distinct boundary between earth and space. The decrease in pressure is gradual. At 31 km, the pressure is just 1% of what it's at the surface.

Source : Atmospheric pressure - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

EDIT : This gives us the 100 times volume expansion result directly. The ideal gas law states that:-

Pressure X Volume = Constant (for a constant temperature, which is maintained inside the ballon).

P1V1=P2V2=Constant

P1V1=(P1/100)V2

=> V2=100*V1

Last edited by anku94 : 11th October 2010 at 10:35.
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Old 11th October 2010, 11:01   #14
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Absolutely Brilliant is what i would say for this DIY ! it is also quite amazing to see the basic atmospheric and gravitational rules and laws applied to it.



is a normal human being allowed to do such thing ? I mean didnt NASA had an objection to things being sent space without authorization ? Pardon me as if it were India, it would have been "Breaking News" and the cops would have confiscated that device and sent to some scientist who would then spend years for "Gods know what" kind of research ! Ofcourse, the guy would have charged with all kind of laws and a father-son day of fun would have turned into a horrible day of their lives !

Last edited by dar3dev|l : 11th October 2010 at 11:05.
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Old 11th October 2010, 13:57   #15
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No nasa has no authorization over anything sent at that altitude.
The correct definition of where space begins and our atmosphere ends is very ambigous.Because tenuous atmosphere extends to more than 1000kms.
However it is agreed internationally that above 100km that is known as the Karman Line,space starts.

Also these balloon experiments was does from proper restricted airspace,whether other agencies also release their high altitude weather balloons so no danger to commercial airlines.
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