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DIY Android Balloon Launches 70K Feet Into Earth's Atmosphere

It seems there's no shortage of amateur flight enthusiasts sending balloons into the sky. Still, when you consider the money and resources devoted to most of these missions, it's hard to call them "amateur" projects at all.

But a group of people in San Francisco recently proved that new ballooning heights can still be reached for relatively cheap. According to Wired, seven electronics nuts who are part of the hacker collective "Noisebridge," recently launched a $25 military-surplus weather balloon about 70,000-feet into the air. The five-pound balloon, which they'd bought off eBay, carried an Android G1 phone, two cameras and other electronics stored in a Styrofoam cooler. The cameras were rigged to snap photos every 30 seconds, and the phone used available cell-phone networks to send its GPS coordinates to the team on the ground.

The most impressive part about this story is that the team put all this together in less than a week. As you might guess, there were a few glitches during the flight. Water vapor froze the ham radio, and the team soon lost communication with its aircraft. However, they received a text message hours later and determined that the balloon had crashed about 20 miles away.

Miraculously, the electronics weren't severely damaged from the crash, and the team got some great shots and video from high above the ground. Next time, these guys might want to take a little more time to plan before launching something into the sky. [From: Wired]

Tags: android, balloons, diy, flight, g1, google phone, GooglePhone, gps, space, top

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