In June of 2013, a group of five ambitious friends decided to capture footage of space by sending a Weather Balloon GoPro recorder into the sky. They didn’t know it would be the last time they would see the equipment, or the space footage, for years.
Bryan Chan, Ashish Goel, Ved Chirayath, Paul Tarantino and Tyler Reid built the device, calculated the trajectory, and then connected with the FAA to ensure they wouldn’t be interfering with any aircraft. The equipment was complete with a GoPro Hero3, Sony camcorder, and Samsung Galaxy Note II smartphone. The first two were recording footage and the latter was snapping photographs. All were launch in the desert just outside of Tuba City.
Though the team originally intended to track their balloon via the GPS on the smartphone, they lost contact with the device when it went out of range. They tried to remain optimistic that they would see their cameras again.
Two years later, they received a call from a hiker, who had stumbled across the box with the names of the group written on it. When the team anxiously reviewed the data, realized that the device had reached 98,664 feet and had a flight time of 1 hour and 38 minutes, traveling a total of 50 miles from their original location.
The footage captured was remarkable.