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288/365 [UPDATE 10/23/11 Thank you to everyone who has looked at our project! The response has been completely overwhelming. We were itching to launch another one but after seeing the feedback, it makes us that much more excited to get it done. The next launch will be about 2 weeks from now, and that payload will have a video camera along for the ride as well! We've sorted out all the issues we had on this run, so all the images should be usable. Thank you again for all of the support and stay tuned for more images in the future!] This is what space looks like from a weather balloon. We're working on determining exactly what altitude we got to, but I'd put it somewhere near 100,000 feet. You can see about half of the city of Lubbock along the bottom of the photo just right of center. We launched our little spacecraft (Cygnus) at 9:02am from 33° 49' 28"N 102° 53' 56"W, and it touched back down to Earth at 11:56am at 33° 19' 21"N 101° 59' 42"W. 62 miles from where it was released. This image was taken 1 hour and 55 minutes into the flight. The camera was traveling in a styrofoam beer cooler from Wal Mart. The cooler was lifted into space using a 22 foot weather balloon filled with Helium. A parachute was attached to the cooler to slow and stabilize the fall of the cooler when the balloon eventually popped from lack of air pressure as it rose closer to the vacuum of space. There were some issues with frost building up on the plexiglass shield and it actually ruined most of the images. Live and learn I suppose. We'll get it down next time. Most people we've seen do this online take 3-6 months of planning and preparation before they launch something. We did it in 13 days. I guess it's only fitting that we overlooked something. I'm just glad we found it and everything was still in one piece! Because there was so much issue with frost, I did my best to remove it from this image. It made the curve of the Earth a little bumpy in the left half of the image, but you can see what it should look like toward the right edge. Check out a video of the balloon being released here! UPDATE 10/19/11 We made the local news! So awesome. Check out the story here. (I'll update this link if I get a higher quality video)