First Launch a Success!
The first launch was a great success and the first photos and videos are posted!
We had to move the launch site from the one previosuly planned due to unusual winds coming from the east. So we selected the Blue Heron State Park right next to Moses Lake and Interstate 90 (see map below). Our simulator predicted the landing site to be east of the Columbia River and south of I-90. If the balloon landed west of the river we would have been in the military's Yakima Firing Center, making retrieval a bit tricky. So we drove about 30 miles to the east to Blue Heron and setup the launch site.
Welcome to the Bertha 2 Project!
One fond memory from my childhood was my dad taking me to our local hobby store for the first time to pick out our first model rocket. The man behind the counter suggested the Estes' Big Bertha because of its slow realistic takeoffs. It was capable of flying over 500 feet in the air and would return to earth safely with its parachute! Big Bertha became my first model rocket and we enjoyed flying it many times. Later we purchased an inexpensive super-8 rocket camera so we could actually view the launch from the rocket’s perspective and see the earth retreat away. Today, I still enjoy viewing the earth at 35,000 feet within a commercial jet.
Bertha 2 is a natural extension of this curiosity of viewing the earth from above. Its goal is to travel to over 100,000 feet into the stratosphere and photograph the journey. Its two cameras, contained in a Styrofoam capsule and suspended from a weather balloon, will photograph the land below and see the curvature of the earth.
Many others have sent equipment to near-space using this technique. This website shows the resources from others we are using to design the capsule and equipment. We show how we are selecting the launch sites and how we are predicting the path of the balloon. You can see the equipment we are using and how we constructed the capsule. Pictures and videos of the trips are posted in the Photogallery. Enjoy!