MIT class of 2016 early action admits – “Hack the Tubes” project. I decided to send my Tube to the edge of space! I turned it into an Amateur Radio High-Altitude Ballooning project. I used two GPS-equipped ham radio transmitters (APRS) using the callsigns AK4JG-11 (me) and K4ETY-11 (my dad) to send out position packets from the Tube so I could track it on the ground. (The thing I’m soldering in the beginning is one of the trackers.) My dad and I made custom antennas for the radios for the flight. (You see one of them at the bottom of all the footage from the TubeCam.) The camera mounted to the Tube (“TubeCam”) for the ride was a GoPro Hero camera, taking 960p HD video. The balloon was an 800 gram weather balloon, filled with Helium. We launched the payload around 1 pm from Lumpkin, GA on January 16, 2012. The entire flight from launch to landing lasted nearly 2 hours. Maximum altitude was approximately 91,000 feet. It landed just east of I-75 and south of Cordele, GA. Ironically, it decided to land in a small patch of trees surrounded by cotton fields. (We were aiming for the fields.) Luckily, it wasn’t very high up and we were able to recover everything safely. It was fun!
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Nice catch on the soldering skill badge! Erin got that on her birthday, when she also got the soldering station you see her using in the video. I guess she needs to do something with the badge, huh? You think it might look good on an MIT hat?
BTW, she used an android app to capture the stop-motion video with her phone. I thought that including the process of building the components and putting it all together, and then the shot in the car when we were chasing the balloon and hearing APRS tones in the background, all together really shows how cool it is to be a ham.
We all think Erin did a great job on this project! Of course, I might be a bit biased ;^)