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Balloons for the hell of it
August 30, 2007 10:08 PM   Subscribe

The latest launch of the amateur enthusiast group Southern Alberta Balloon Launch Experiments was a success.
posted by Burhanistan (31 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite

 
I bet, like the dude trying to run a sustainable farm in the recent post, that this whole thing was highly illegal.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 10:12 PM on August 30, 2007


Those photos are incredible. I'm very impressed.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 10:16 PM on August 30, 2007


As a Nikon Coolpix owner myself, the fact that the thing kept working through the freezing upper atmosphere makes me happy also.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:29 PM on August 30, 2007


And yet it was launched from central (almost northern) Alberta! What else are they lying to us about?
posted by blue_beetle at 10:32 PM on August 30, 2007


Site is getting hammered.
posted by anthill at 10:32 PM on August 30, 2007


Gorgeous. Wish they had a slideshow.
posted by pointilist at 10:35 PM on August 30, 2007


I like this photo best... just after the balloon burst. So that's what you see when you step into space.
posted by anthill at 10:37 PM on August 30, 2007


That is sooo fucking cool!
posted by serazin at 11:23 PM on August 30, 2007


Unfucking believable. Awsome. I wish I could fav this FPP 300 times.

I get sweaty palms (fear of heights here) just thinking about being up that high. 24 miles.

So is it possible to build a permanent balloon? Something that could stay aloft in the jet stream for a long time? If so, that would make for some pretty nifty civilian spy "satellites" (or stratites?).
posted by Avenger at 12:25 AM on August 31, 2007



Wow.

The front page of the site is so exceptionally dull. I clicked on the most recent flight and the image is ...

(I couldn't/can't get around that this is a bunch of shmoes: I mean, they got a view of off-the-planet, of not-this-world-anymore which a paltry fifty(? fewer? more? definitely a hundred?) years ago was afforded to only a tiny tiny select few (I mean the first look, the ability to even _do_ such thing). Can you imagine what this would have done to some/any equivalent shmoe in Galileo's time? Plutrarch's time? Egypt Five thousand years ago?

There is something supra-temporal about this kind of thing, like the invite list of a Sumarian wedding: At once quotidian and extraordinary.

The photo makes me think I could just step off the planet, go check out other things. How far are we from that?

what a great way to start the day.
posted by From Bklyn at 12:26 AM on August 31, 2007 [1 favorite]


I could have sworn this was a picture taken from a dream I had as a kid.

Though a lot of them are like that.
posted by From Bklyn at 12:30 AM on August 31, 2007


What is a super cool thing to do.
posted by Cranberry at 12:41 AM on August 31, 2007


How beautiful. Great post.

I can't believe that pic at the top of the page of the first link.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 1:09 AM on August 31, 2007


As long as they don't get condensation (or frost) in the optics, digital cameras work better the colder they get.
posted by StickyCarpet at 5:36 AM on August 31, 2007


117,597 ft / (5,280 ft/mile) = 22.27 miles.

Whoa.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 5:39 AM on August 31, 2007


You know who else liked balloons?
posted by Kinbote at 6:28 AM on August 31, 2007


Fantastic! Do you have to get some kind of clearance from the government to do this sort of thing?
posted by punkfloyd at 7:28 AM on August 31, 2007


Avenger: The idea of balloon "satellites" is old but good. Lots of different groups are working on variations. I can think of at least one science fiction treatment (John Crowley's Engine Summer) dating back to the late 70s / early 80s.
posted by lodurr at 7:37 AM on August 31, 2007


Excellent. But there is one thing I don't get about the caption on the last photo...

...Above (from L - R) - Brian VE6JBJ, myself - Barry VE6SBS, Tony VA6TNY, and James VE6SRV...

Is that their license plate numbers?

/derail
posted by Totally Zanzibarin' Ya at 7:46 AM on August 31, 2007


last photo on the main page, that is.
posted by Totally Zanzibarin' Ya at 7:48 AM on August 31, 2007


It's killing me -- I absolutely know I saw something somewhere that gives more context to this effort just within the last few days, but I can't find it. This isn't it (Boing Boing) (original article on MAKE), but it's also cool and related.

If these are the guys I think they are, they ultimately want to put things into orbit by getting them high enough that a gradual acceleration process can get the objects up to escape velocity. Maybe these aren't those guys. If they aren't, does anybody else recognize what I'm talking about? I'm sure I didn't dream it, but I just can't find it in my damn aggregator.
posted by lodurr at 7:50 AM on August 31, 2007


"License" is partly right. They're amateur radio geeks.
posted by lodurr at 7:51 AM on August 31, 2007


I think these guys, JP Aerospace, may be who I was thinking of, but I still can't remember where I saw them. Looking now...
posted by lodurr at 7:59 AM on August 31, 2007


More on J P Aerospace:Who cares if it's wacky. It's effing cool.
posted by lodurr at 8:05 AM on August 31, 2007


On MeFi: Stuff on them in this thread. (Sorry, I just think this shit is so amazingly cool.)
posted by lodurr at 8:16 AM on August 31, 2007


Thanks lodurr. Neat stuff!
posted by Totally Zanzibarin' Ya at 8:23 AM on August 31, 2007


Excellent. But there is one thing I don't get about the caption on the last photo...

...Above (from L - R) - Brian VE6JBJ, myself - Barry VE6SBS, Tony VA6TNY, and James VE6SRV...

Is that their license plate numbers?


Ham radio callsigns.
posted by arto at 8:38 AM on August 31, 2007


StickyCarpet writes "As long as they don't get condensation (or frost) in the optics, digital cameras work better the colder they get."

Well up until the batteries stop working.
posted by Mitheral at 1:56 PM on August 31, 2007


Do you have to get some kind of clearance from the government to do this sort of thing?
It looks like small balloons (under a few pounds & without dense sections) aren't especially regulated by the U.S. FAA. Sections 101.1 and 101.7.
posted by exogenous at 6:31 PM on August 31, 2007


Very cool!
Why are they using helium? Surely the balloon would get a good deal higher before bursting if they used hydrogen, as they would only need to fill it 80% to get the same lift?

"OH THE HUMANITY! wait... digital camera... nevermind... false alarm. OH THE DIGITALITY" :-)
posted by -harlequin- at 5:46 PM on September 1, 2007


Hydrogen is a much better choice for obvious economic reasons, too. (Assume you knew that, and thought everyone would -- but they don't.) You can basically only get helium in large quantities if you're in the US's good graces.
posted by lodurr at 12:20 PM on September 3, 2007


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