March 7, 2012
LEGO Space Shuttle Takes Trip To Space Aboard Balloon
A LEGO model of a NASA space shuttle was recently launched into space via a helium balloon by a German space shuttle fan.
YouTube user Raul Oaida said he and Steve Sammartino used a helium balloon bigger than a human being to carry a GoPro camera, GPS system and the Space Shuttle to an altitude of 21.7 miles.
The mission took two-and-a-half hours to complete, traveling above clouds and into the stratosphere.
He and Sammartino launched the LEGO model of the space shuttle from central Germany using a 1600g metro balloon on December 31, 2011.
"The biggest problem was getting a flight clearance, in my country (Romania) there is A LOT of bureaucracy and a 45 day (minimum) waiting period and even then there would be next to no chance for me, a teenager getting such a thing," he wrote on his blog about the experience.
"After some research I found out every EU country has different regulations for this things, Germany was by far the best with my father being there for work."
He said the first few days of launch showed terrible conditions, with jet streams sending the model as far as Czech Republic.
Oaida said he recovered the LEGO model about 149 miles southeast from a remote area.
He lost contact with the GPS attached to the balloon after it was about 59,000 feet into the air.
"I waited anxiously to re-gain contact which happened in about 1 hour from the loss of contact, only it was 200km (125 miles) away by now," Oaida wrote in the blog.
He and Sammartino said they hope to raise $20,000 for a new mission, according to a blog post by Steve.
Sammartino said he can't share all the details of the new mission because it can only be done once and would be "a world first."
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