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Worlds first Space Cache Our weather balloon Geocache experiment

#1 User is offline   soup 

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Posted 16 September 2008 - 02:33 PM

I have dreamed about it for 2 years, and finally on 7/27/08 we accomplished the task...
To launch a Geocache into Space, or as close as possible. We got close at 99,715 feet!! Woot!!

I wasnt sure where to post this in the GC forums: GPS in education? GPS and Ham Radio? the Unusual/Hunt? This cache was the combination of multiple technologies and efforts of Speedur, Alterdstate and myself (soup). It was so fun, and by design, Geocachers get to participate in the continued experiment.

Plus, we got some Amazing pictures (example below: Mt Adams, Mt Rainer, and the top of Mt. St. Helens)
Posted Image

For our "Near Space Cache" we used Ham Radio frequencies, GPS, and even FRS. People were able to follow the balloon "tracks" live from the comfort of their computer screen (and call us if we got off track). During the last morning of our Champoeg 08 event, we launched our custom electronics package and Geocache, and chased it to its landing spot. The flight path was crazy, and the final landing site just north of Mount Hood. The Geocache also had a scientific experiment that needs the help from the Geocaching community to complete. Interested? :)

All the information, including the experiment, the story, and a link to all the pictures captured by the flight camera can be found at the actual Geocache page... GC1G3H2

:anicute: I cant wait to launch another one! :D


#2 User is offline   The Curious Onlooker 

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Posted 16 September 2008 - 05:12 PM

This is awesome. I am really surprised that you were able to track the thing down afterward.
I admire your intelligence and gadgets.

#3 User is offline   stites1 

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Posted 16 September 2008 - 06:31 PM

I thought canoeing out to an island to hide a cache was cool. I'm so not worthy. You guys rock!
Posted Image

#4 User is offline   woffles 

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Posted 16 September 2008 - 09:47 PM

I like that last picture before it "touched" down.

#5 User is offline   MountainRacer 

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Posted 16 September 2008 - 10:23 PM

That is awesome! What did you use to launch it that high?

#6 User is offline   soup 

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Posted 16 September 2008 - 10:39 PM

View PostMountainRacer, on Sep 16 2008, 11:23 PM, said:

That is awesome! What did you use to launch it that high?


We used a helium filled latex weather balloon rated for altitude of about 100k feet.

Quote

I like that last picture before it "touched" down.


If you look on Google earth of the Landing coordinates, you can see that rounded clearcut. Neat!

Thanks for the nice comments. We had a blast working on it.

#7 User is offline   AB&MB 

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Posted 17 September 2008 - 03:39 AM

Amazing pictures, there appears to be a disc shaped object on several of them.
Anybody else spot them or am I going UFO happy?

#8 User is offline   trainlove 

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Posted 17 September 2008 - 06:47 AM

View Postsoup, on Sep 16 2008, 02:33 PM, said:



Good thing your 'cache' didn't land too close to the solution of a puzzle cache or the final of a multi cache. You wouldn't be able to get it published then.

#9 User is offline   rogheff 

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Posted 17 September 2008 - 07:12 AM

That would be a really interesting way to launch a travel bug or traveling cache!

#10 User is offline   ZSandmann 

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Posted 17 September 2008 - 07:30 AM

That is one of the most amazing cache stories I have read. And yeah I see the UFO too! Call the National Enquirer.

#11 User is offline   9Key 

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Posted 17 September 2008 - 08:11 AM

Dang - that's really cool! :lol: :laughing:

#12 User is offline   knowschad 

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Posted 17 September 2008 - 08:21 AM

How did you make sure that it would come down in an area that would be appropriate to hide a cache , anyway?

We've got a local cacher that is jokingly said to sometimes toss a cache from a moving car or drop it from an airplane... I think you've topped him!

#13 User is offline   soup 

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Posted 17 September 2008 - 08:32 AM

View Postknowschad, on Sep 17 2008, 09:21 AM, said:

How did you make sure that it would come down in an area that would be appropriate to hide a cache , anyway?


I never planned on making the final landing site the cache site because of uncertanity of final location. I want to have as many people find the cache in order to participate in the continued experiment, and know of a "very appropriate" location for the cache, so I did a real simple offset.

And.. yeah the UFO was a little unsettling at first, but it turns out they Geocache too.. on Mars! (marscache?) :lol:

#14 User is offline   trainlove 

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Posted 17 September 2008 - 09:24 AM

View Postsoup, on Sep 17 2008, 08:32 AM, said:

And.. yeah the UFO was a little unsettling at first, but it turns out they Geocache too.. on Mars! (marscache?) :lol:


Well that would be MAOcaching

#15 User is offline   John E Cache 

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Posted 20 September 2008 - 08:28 PM

View Posttrainlove, on Sep 17 2008, 10:24 AM, said:

View Postsoup, on Sep 17 2008, 08:32 AM, said:

And.. yeah the UFO was a little unsettling at first, but it turns out they Geocache too.. on Mars! (marscache?) :huh:


Well that would be MAOcaching
MY guess is arecacache. Geocacahe uses the Greek for earth "ge". The Greek for mars is "ares".

See: areology

#16 User is offline   WatchDog2020 

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Posted 21 September 2008 - 03:36 AM

Very very cool. How did you get permission (I guess you had to) to launch a balloon that high? If I didn't live 2276 miles from the cache - I'd go after a seed in a minute :huh:

#17 User is offline   DonB 

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Posted 21 September 2008 - 04:32 AM

As a photographer I'm curious as to what you had in the package for a camera. Also it looks like on the way down it moved on it's mounting slightly.

#18 User is offline   Star*Hopper 

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Posted 21 September 2008 - 09:04 AM

Too kewl for words, Soupster! KUDOS!!!

My wonder -- If I quick-plotted this thing right, isn't McMinville Municipal not a mile south of your flight path? Any concerns from them, or did you have any hassles getting clearance?

~*

#19 User is offline   Guinness70 

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Posted 25 September 2008 - 02:48 AM

amazing ! a job well done! that is an awesome experiment! very professional.

wouldnt think you need permisison to launch a balloon unless its released near an airport.

and pilots (looking out) would definately see it. with its white color its is VERY bright when the sun hits it.
also it expands as it ascends (pressure outside decreasing), at 20.000ft its HUGE, like 10 meters across !
except in clouds you'ld have to be not paying attention to miss it.

ufo is most likely a lense refraction. at lower height it could be an ice cloud (cirrus lenticularis) but very doubtfull at that height.

This post has been edited by Guinness70: 25 September 2008 - 03:06 AM


#20 User is offline   TheAlabamaRambler 

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Posted 25 September 2008 - 04:13 AM

Way cool! Wish I had thought about attaching a cache to our recent launch! I was on the chase team for this one and it landed in a place which, though rather remote, would have made for a good cache location.

Here's the flight profile for SOB V

Posted Image

#21 User is offline   CacheNCarryMA 

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Posted 25 September 2008 - 06:41 AM

^^ Awesome map of the track!

#22 User is offline   soup 

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Posted 01 October 2008 - 02:14 PM

View PostWatchDog2020, on Sep 21 2008, 04:36 AM, said:

Very very cool. How did you get permission (I guess you had to) to launch a balloon that high? If I didn't live 2276 miles from the cache - I'd go after a seed in a minute :P


I called in a "NOTAM" or Notice to Air Men. It is a service (in my case Lockheed Martin) that keeps all the information I provide about Launch time, Predicted Path, burst altitude..etc, and makes it available to the flying community. We kept the package under the FAA weight/strength restrictions in order to launch w/o problems or permission necessary.

View PostDWBur, on Sep 21 2008, 05:32 AM, said:

As a photographer I'm curious as to what you had in the package for a camera. Also it looks like on the way down it moved on it's mounting slightly.


You are correct. We used low density foam on the inside, and at altitude, the trapped air bubbles expanded and expelled from the foam. When the package returned to earth, the foam shrank because the air did not return. Look at the last picture at the little foam cover... it used to be as big as the opening. We used a Cannon A590 I think, due to the fact it was really easy to hack its ability.

View PostStar*Hopper, on Sep 21 2008, 10:04 AM, said:

If I quick-plotted this thing right, isn't McMinville Municipal not a mile south of your flight path? Any concerns from them, or did you have any hassles getting clearance?

No concerns, as we stayed under the FAA restrictions, and I filed a NOTAM to CMY. heh

View PostTheAlabamaRambler, on Sep 25 2008, 05:13 AM, said:

Here's the flight profile for SOB V


I REALLY wanted to put my coordinates into Google Earth for this exact type of picture.. but I am having problems with the .KML conversion. Any tips you can provide me? Beautiful map you got there.. and isnt chasing just the best experience?? So fun! Thanks again everyone!!

#23 User is offline   NeverSummer 

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Posted 01 October 2008 - 03:01 PM

Soup, my seeds won't sprout... :P

#24 User is offline   KJcachers 

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Posted 02 October 2008 - 09:38 AM

just fantastic!

#25 User is offline   jbhodj & Drake 

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Posted 02 October 2008 - 10:00 AM

Absolutely one of the best caches I have ever seen and read about. The pictures are nice

#26 User is offline   jbhodj & Drake 

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Posted 02 October 2008 - 10:08 AM

double up

This post has been edited by jbhodj & Drake: 02 October 2008 - 10:08 AM


#27 User is offline   karstic 

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Posted 02 October 2008 - 10:57 AM

Did you guys record any other data such as air tempature or air pressure?

That seems like it would be something cool to do for a HS science class.

#28 User is offline   Y2KOTA 

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Posted 03 October 2008 - 03:42 AM

This cache is now on top of my dream list of caches to find!!

#29 User is offline   soup 

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Posted 03 October 2008 - 07:10 AM

View Postkarstic, on Oct 2 2008, 11:57 AM, said:

Did you guys record any other data such as air tempature or air pressure?
That seems like it would be something cool to do for a HS science class.


In addition to this flight, we have worked with the local college that does experiments with middle schools.

This first flight, we just wanted pictures and be able to recover the package as cheaply as possible. For our next flight, I am planning on some new experiments that geocachers can help out with. I really wanted the geocache hanging out in front of the camera with the earth as a backdrop. Some other fun ideas are in the works as well.

View PostNeverSummer, on Oct 1 2008, 04:01 PM, said:

Soup, my seeds won't sprout... :rolleyes:


I send you a PM message. Let me know what you think.. :santa:

#30 User is offline   karstic 

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Posted 03 October 2008 - 08:35 PM

How was the interval set to take the photographs? By time or altitude?

#31 User is offline   NeverSummer 

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Posted 03 October 2008 - 11:16 PM

Thanks for the offer, soup. I was "in town" and grabbed another set. We'll see how it goes!

#32 User is offline   soup 

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Posted 04 October 2008 - 10:21 PM

View Postkarstic, on Oct 3 2008, 09:35 PM, said:

How was the interval set to take the photographs? By time or altitude?
We set it up as time based pix. Next go around, I think altitude based pix, with GPS coords on camera display would be a fun addition. Its time to start working on projects for the next flight..

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