February 4, 2013
13-year Old Sends Hello Kitty Into Space
Michael Harper for redOrbit.com — Your Universe Online
Seventh grader Lauren Rojas of Antioch, California has already learned a very important life lesson: Any presentation is made exponentially cooler with a home-made video from outer space.
In fact, it's safe to say Ms. Rojas has learned 2 very important life lessons, the second being: It never hurts to send a proxy to do the dangerous work for you.
The 13-year old California girl recently took on a class project to study the effects of altitude on air pressure and temperature, sending her Hello Kitty doll and a few GoPro Hero 2 cameras along for the ride. The result is a very cool video packed with plenty of clear shots of our world from thousands of feet above and one very cool and collected Hello Kitty enjoying the ride.
"I liked her ever since I was 6 years old," said Ms. Rojas, speaking to NY Daily News. "My love for Hello Kitty has never gone away and I thought it would be really fun to add a toy inside the rocket."
These days, it's not difficult to find the materials one needs in order to go shooting things into the lowest reaches of outer space. Ms. Rojas found the weather balloon and other essentials used for this project at High Altitude Science, who have posted the video of Ms. Rojas' project to their website.
GoPro's cameras are also no stranger to outer space. Their rugged bodies and exceptional shooting quality make them a go-to device for not only high-altitude experiments, but also ground-level extreme sports. As for the Hello Kitty doll, Ms. Rojas told the New York Daily News that it was a gift all the way from Tokyo.
More than just wanting to shoot Hello Kitty into space in her own silver rocket, Ms. Rojas wanted to observe the effects altitude has on air pressure and temperature. Along for the ride were the pertinent tools needed to record these measurements, such as an altimeter and thermometer. The Hello Kitty spacecraft was launched at an altitude of 623 feet at 43 degrees, but climbed as high as 93,625 feet and withstood temperatures as cold as -38 degrees Fahrenheit. Once the entire homemade space station reached its highest point, the reduced air pressure had expanded the balloon to more than 53 times its original size. At this point the balloon burst, sending the entire kit falling back safely to the ground thanks to some onboard parachutes. While hovering in space, the GoPro cameras capture some stunning footage of the skies and the world below.
When it finally came back to land, Hello Kitty landed 50 feet high in a tree almost 50 miles away from where it originally began.
All told, Ms. Rojas says it took her and her father 2 weeks to build a proper vehicle for Hello Kitty and assemble the High Altitude Science components, resulting in a life experience she won't soon forget. High Altitude Science sells everything one needs to send their own favorite items into space, including the Eagle Flight Computer, complete with GPS tracking and all the tools to measure air speed, altitude, temperature and more.