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“Space, the final frontier.” – Captain Kirk TOS

The famous first words of Kirk are not really true anymore: hundreds of balloons and people have been to near space and beyond, but I'm always held an interest in doing exactly that.

As a child I always envisioned sending a film camera up on a kite, but its weight and trigging the shutter would leave that idea permanently grounded.

But to quote James Meehan, “I'm a firm believer that the truest forms of experimentation and invention have no purpose -- it's pure curiosity and challenge.” This was this thought that kept the dream alive.

The winter break of my freshman year was when I first had an urge to send a camera into space. I ran out of time and the resultant was a cobbled together manila folder model rocket with a CVS camera glued onto it. It was so heavy that I needed a C-6 Estes Engine to just get it off the ground. Its overpowered engine and bad aerodynamics caused it to never break the FL 1 mark. However flawed that rocket was, it taught me some important lessons on systems design: I was able to perfect my parachute design, work on the camera subsystem and learn that not everything is going to be right come the day of the launch.

During the winter break of my sophomore year I began construction in earnest. Like jmeehan I was in the middle of a life, how do I phrase it, speed bump? Before, to deal with the ups and downs for life, I would read or try to build something with Lego. I guess this time the balloon was the resultant: emotions turning into creative juices fueling the project.

My single design direction for all my projects has always been maximum ability, minimum monetary cost. And my design heavily reflects that mindset.

See Overview for a top level survey of the project.
Subpages (2): Launches Overview
Cohberg Ng,
Mar 14, 2011, 7:34 PM