Balloon project really goes up, up and away - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Balloon project really goes up, up and away

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(CBS 8)- It's one of the coolest science experiments -- a father-son team from Brooklyn got some footage of outer space using just a weather balloon, a video camera, and an iPhone. They managed to send their homemade spacecraft nearly 19 miles high.

They started with a few test runs, then after eight months the big day arrived. For Luke Geissbuhler and his son Max, it was D-Day. Their capsule would have to survive 100 mile-per-hour winds, temperatures of 60 degrees below zero, and speeds of over a 150 miles per hour.

In a matter of minutes, the weather balloon disappears into the clouds. Half an hour into the voyage, their craft reaches 30,000 feet. After an hour of film time, at 90,000 feet, the balloon is ready to burst. And when it does, the parachute kicks right in. As the craft slows down to 15 miles per hour back to mother earth, the GPS that's in the iPhone transmits its coordinates for the first time.

With 100 minutes of recording time, and a mere two minutes left until it lands, the camera's battery finally dies. Amazingly, the soft capsule lands only 30 miles north of the launch site.

Luke says he plans on making a new model craft, one that will address the wild rocking. He's also working on a how-to book, which will include FAA rules and regulations for launching.

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