14 September 2009

$150 Spaceshot

A group of MIT students set themselves the task of taking remote photographs from space on the cheap and, even more challenging, using off-the-shelf items with no custom hardware hacks or exotic software. The ended up buying a used Canon compact camera off of Amazon and taping it to the inside of a beer cooler. They used chemical handwarmers to keep the electronics from freezing. They also put in a pre-paid cell with GPS and auto-texting so they could track it. They hooked it all to a latex weather balloon and launched it 18 miles into the stratosphere. The total package was less than four pounds, so no FCC license was required.

Total cost was $150 and the results, on the first and only try so far, were spectacular. And anyone with basic technical ability could do the same thing from their own backyard. Project website here and iReport here.

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