First Launch a Success! 

The first launch was a great success and the first photos and videos are posted!

First launch photos

First launch video

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 in 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!




06/02/2012 10:54
The video is in!  Check it out.  James stitched together shots of the launch, flight and landing.  You can see a plane pass by during the ascent, a few mountains and the blackness of space.  Click on the link on the home page or watch it in the Photogallery.  Enjoy!

Mountains Photographed

05/31/2012 21:43
Check out the Photogallery.  I blew up a couple of the stills.  You can see Mt. Baker, the Cascade Range, the Puget Sound and Mt. Rainier!

Flight Data Section

05/28/2012 19:00
I'll begin to publish some of the findings of the flight once we look at the data.  Check out the Flight Data section to see what we are finding.  The first question we asked was, "How close did the capsule land to the predicted location?"   We also discovered today that we got...

Successful Launch!

05/26/2012 23:12
Today we successfully launched the balloon at 10:00 AM at Blue Heron State Park near Moses Lake.  We had to change the launch site since the winds were going to carry the balloon westerly towards the Cascades instead of easterly.  The balloon disappeared into the sky and...

Launch Date Moved

05/24/2012 11:26
We are now planning the launch for Saturday morning May 26th.  The weather around Quincy looks to be clearest that day and winds are still reasonable.  As I write this update, the fam is flying to Seattle to meet James.  We plan to pick up the helium this afternoon...

Thermal Studies

05/07/2012 21:24
How many handwarmers should we put in the capsule?  Check out the thermal studies section.


05/07/2012 19:15
Yes, check out the new Links section.  There are a few videos of those that have gone on before us and have shown us the way!

Visitors notice

05/06/2012 15:40
Check out this news column for up to date news of what's happening on the website.  The site is very much under construction as we get ready for the first launch. 

Website launched

05/04/2012 23:19
Our new website has been launched today.  Feel free to send the link to your friends.  The site is being constructed so new sections and articles should appear frequently.  Please sign the guestbook!