The Golden State from the Stratosphere



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On September 25, 2016, the Night Crew Labs team launched a stratospheric balloon in the California Central Valley, 80 miles west of Yosemite National Park. The payload flew 4 cameras: 2 GoPro Hero 4 Blacks and 2 GoPro Hero 4 Sessions. The flight footage was taken by a horizon pointing GoPro Hero 4 Black. This project had two major goals: (1) to fly the Sony A7S camera at night on a high altitude balloon; (2) recreate the NASA Moon mission re-entry segment with a scale model capsule deploying parachutes at an altitude of 24,000 feet (more on this project here).

The build and logistics took the effort of the Night Crew Labs Team along with Jonny Carroll, Andrew Harner, and Adrien Perkins. On this cloudless fall day, we were met with sweeping views of the Sierra Nevada Range, Yosemite Valley, and California farms, all captured above an altitude of 70,000 feet. The payload ultimately landed next to an almond tree farm near Turlock, CA. The mission duration was 84 minutes where we achieved a maximum altitude of 72,351 feet, lower than the anticipated 100,000 feet due to a fault in the balloon. Wind patterns resulted in a NCL record for shortest distance travelled, only 4.25 miles and some of the slowest horizontal speeds with a maximum of 40 mph. The flight trajectory is given below. This location was selected due to its remote nature as safety is our priority. In addition, this flight was cleared with the proper Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) authorities.

This flight was part of a larger effort undertaken with the team from Adam Savage’s Tested. This video’s release is to promote the Tested Live Show at the Castro Theatre in San Francisco on October 29, 2016 where we will reveal more info and details about the mission and build.