Recently, a father and his 7 year old son sent an HD camera and an iPhone into space on a shoestring budget. Find out what they did right that you may be doing wrong.
This father and son team sent a camera into space. Yeah, I’m going to type that again: A 7-year-old and his dad sent something into space.
Materials they used to do it:
- weather balloon
- small parachute
- HD camera
- LED light
- packing foam
- hand-warmers (the secret ingredient)
- lollipops (for the kids)
Watch this video of how the duo did it before reading on. Thanks to my dad for sending this my way :)
Damn, that is a sweet earth you might say.
Now let’s not split hairs here. 100,000 feet may not actually be space – although wikipedia confirmed my belief that there wasn’t a clear boundary between the Earth’s atmosphere and outer space. But whether it’s technically space or not isn’t important.
What’s important here is that a couple hundred bucks, off the shelf technology, a few weekends in the park, and some back of the envelope calculations resulted in something really cool.
These guys had an idea ("to film the blackness beyond our earth") and they quickly and cheaply set out to test ways to accomplish their idea. They identified the absolutely essential problems they’d have to address: filming stuff requires a camera, cameras require batteries operating in a certain temperature range, capturing the blackness of space requires being really high up.
They didn’t worry about many other big (but not absolutely essential) problems like: sending live data back to Earth, waterproofing the container in case it landed in the lake or ocean, controlling exactly what the camera recorded, tweeting their progress through the troposphere…etc.
Their focus allowed them solve the few really big problems that were most likely to make their mission a failure. Their focus made their venture more likely to succeed. So congrats to this father-son team and I hope there are some lessons for current and future astronauts and entrepreneurs alike.
Other things this duo did right:
- Rapid prototyping, testing, & video documentation
- Reaching out for help (see credits)
- Sharing results (youtube)
- Telling a compelling story through the right medium
[Originally published By Andrew Bellay on aonetwork.com]