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Near Space Balloon Project

 

In 2012 I volunteered with the TEDx Asheville event (www.tedxasheville.com). That year the theme was "The Edge". The conference explored all things relating to "the EDGE" and I decided this would be a great opportunity to explore near space ballooning. I volunteered at my kid's middle school where I worked with one of the science and math teachers and his students. Over the course of several weeks the students designed and built a "near space balloon" that carried a GO Pro video camera and two GPS devices along with small personal items from each student up to near space.

The balloon traveled 100,000 feet above sea level where the helium balloon popped (at 30 feet in diameter!). At that time the payload (an off-the-shelf foam cooler from the grocery store) parachuted back to earth in Boone, NC which is 100 miles from the launch site in Asheville, NC.

The above video was shown during the TEDx event to the audience and the students were on stage to answer questions.

During the design phase of this project my good friend Sharon Feingold suggested I get in touch with Jeff Kluger who authored the best selling book "Apollo 13" which was eventually made into a movie staring Tom Hanks. Jeff graciously Skyped with the students and did a little Q&A with us. See the photos below.

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And then... Jeff Kluger decided to fly to Asheville  from his office in New York City to visit the "near space balloon" students in person at the school. He gave a talk about his book "Apollo 13" and the science of space travel. See the photos of Jeff speaking below...

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Here Jeff is signing the payload of the near space balloon project...

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