SpaceCam is a set of cameras housed in a Styrofoam capsule that is capable of ascending to 100,000 feet.  The SpaceCam capsule is suspended under a helium weather balloon which is calibrated to burst at a given altitude depending on the amount of helium added.  After the balloon bursts, the SpaceCam parachute inflates and the capsule drifts safely to earth.  The capsule contains a tracking device which makes it possible to retrieve the payload.

Launch photos

Launch video

We selected the Blue Heron State Park right next to Moses Lake and Interstate 90 (see map below) for our launch site.  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.