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Worlds first Space Cache


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I have dreamed about it for 2 years, and finally on 7/27/08 we accomplished the task...

To launch a Geocache into Space, or as close as possible. We got close at 99,715 feet!! Woot!!


I wasnt sure where to post this in the GC forums: GPS in education? GPS and Ham Radio? the Unusual/Hunt? This cache was the combination of multiple technologies and efforts of Speedur, Alterdstate and myself (soup). It was so fun, and by design, Geocachers get to participate in the continued experiment.


Plus, we got some Amazing pictures (example below: Mt Adams, Mt Rainer, and the top of Mt. St. Helens)



For our "Near Space Cache" we used Ham Radio frequencies, GPS, and even FRS. People were able to follow the balloon "tracks" live from the comfort of their computer screen (and call us if we got off track). During the last morning of our Champoeg 08 event, we launched our custom electronics package and Geocache, and chased it to its landing spot. The flight path was crazy, and the final landing site just north of Mount Hood. The Geocache also had a scientific experiment that needs the help from the Geocaching community to complete. Interested? :)


All the information, including the experiment, the story, and a link to all the pictures captured by the flight camera can be found at the actual Geocache page... GC1G3H2


:anicute: I cant wait to launch another one! :D

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That is awesome! What did you use to launch it that high?


We used a helium filled latex weather balloon rated for altitude of about 100k feet.


I like that last picture before it "touched" down.


If you look on Google earth of the Landing coordinates, you can see that rounded clearcut. Neat!


Thanks for the nice comments. We had a blast working on it.

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How did you make sure that it would come down in an area that would be appropriate to hide a cache , anyway?


I never planned on making the final landing site the cache site because of uncertanity of final location. I want to have as many people find the cache in order to participate in the continued experiment, and know of a "very appropriate" location for the cache, so I did a real simple offset.


And.. yeah the UFO was a little unsettling at first, but it turns out they Geocache too.. on Mars! (marscache?) :lol:

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amazing ! a job well done! that is an awesome experiment! very professional.


wouldnt think you need permisison to launch a balloon unless its released near an airport.


and pilots (looking out) would definately see it. with its white color its is VERY bright when the sun hits it.

also it expands as it ascends (pressure outside decreasing), at 20.000ft its HUGE, like 10 meters across !

except in clouds you'ld have to be not paying attention to miss it.


ufo is most likely a lense refraction. at lower height it could be an ice cloud (cirrus lenticularis) but very doubtfull at that height.

Edited by Guinness70
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Very very cool. How did you get permission (I guess you had to) to launch a balloon that high? If I didn't live 2276 miles from the cache - I'd go after a seed in a minute :P


I called in a "NOTAM" or Notice to Air Men. It is a service (in my case Lockheed Martin) that keeps all the information I provide about Launch time, Predicted Path, burst altitude..etc, and makes it available to the flying community. We kept the package under the FAA weight/strength restrictions in order to launch w/o problems or permission necessary.


As a photographer I'm curious as to what you had in the package for a camera. Also it looks like on the way down it moved on it's mounting slightly.


You are correct. We used low density foam on the inside, and at altitude, the trapped air bubbles expanded and expelled from the foam. When the package returned to earth, the foam shrank because the air did not return. Look at the last picture at the little foam cover... it used to be as big as the opening. We used a Cannon A590 I think, due to the fact it was really easy to hack its ability.


If I quick-plotted this thing right, isn't McMinville Municipal not a mile south of your flight path? Any concerns from them, or did you have any hassles getting clearance?

No concerns, as we stayed under the FAA restrictions, and I filed a NOTAM to CMY. heh


Here's the flight profile for SOB V


I REALLY wanted to put my coordinates into Google Earth for this exact type of picture.. but I am having problems with the .KML conversion. Any tips you can provide me? Beautiful map you got there.. and isnt chasing just the best experience?? So fun! Thanks again everyone!!

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Did you guys record any other data such as air tempature or air pressure?

That seems like it would be something cool to do for a HS science class.


In addition to this flight, we have worked with the local college that does experiments with middle schools.


This first flight, we just wanted pictures and be able to recover the package as cheaply as possible. For our next flight, I am planning on some new experiments that geocachers can help out with. I really wanted the geocache hanging out in front of the camera with the earth as a backdrop. Some other fun ideas are in the works as well.


Soup, my seeds won't sprout... :rolleyes:


I send you a PM message. Let me know what you think.. :santa:

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How was the interval set to take the photographs? By time or altitude?

We set it up as time based pix. Next go around, I think altitude based pix, with GPS coords on camera display would be a fun addition. Its time to start working on projects for the next flight..
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