Five friends from Arizona decided to capture some amazing footage of space by sending their GoPro, camcorder and a phone up a weather balloon back in June 2013. Bryan Chan, Ved Chirayath, Ashish Goel, Paul Tarantino, and Tyler Reid were college students that came up with this idea and built their device. They calculated its trajectory, registered with the Federal Aviation Administration to avoid interfering with passing aircrafts, and finally launched the balloon in the desert a few miles outside of Tuba City.
These five young men planned to track the balloon’s progress using only GPS on the attached smartphone, but they soon lost contact with the locator after the device floated out of cell phone tower range. As months passed there was no sign of their cameras. The group wondered if they are ever going to find it. Finally, after two whole years they received a call from an unknown number. It was a hiker passing through Arizona who had found a strange box with their names on it 50 miles away from their original launch point.
After reuniting with their lost equipment, the team finally saw the amazing video and extraordinary photos that the cameras had taken–including a gorgeous “money shot” of the Grand Canyon captured from the stratosphere. By parsing the data from their device they also learned that the balloon reached an altitude of 98,664 feet, with a total flight time of 1 hour and 38 minutes.
If you want to see how their incredible experiment worked, check out this video that the team put together using footage from their GoPro.