NASA, eat your heart out…
October 17, 2010 1 Comment
Brooklyn has held a special place in my heart for a long time. My dad’s from Brooklyn. Al Capone was from Brooklyn. Mel Brooks, Michael Jordan, Jay-Z…the list of famous Brooklynites goes on and on. Believe it or not, even Bugs Bunny is from Brooklyn. Don’t believe me? Told ya so. Brooklyn has the highest population of any of the five NYC boroughs; it has botanical gardens, a Brewery, hundreds of bridges and now, Brooklyn has its very own space program.
That’s right, Luke Geissbuhler, a photographer from Brooklyn, and his 7-year-old son, Max, successfully built and launched a spacecraft. At a time when NASA is slowly phasing out our primary mode of transportation to space, these two great American heroes say “Phooey!”. Their homemade spacecraft (with an estimated cost of roughly $500) reached an altitude just shy of 19 miles…in just over an hour.
Of course this spacecraft wasn’t that highly sophisticated, it was a 19-inch, helium filled weather balloon with a high-definition camera (a GoPro Hero) placed in a homemade capsule of Styrofoam. As if that wasn’t bold enough, they filled the capsule with hand warmers to combat the extreme cold of Earth’s upper atmosphere, installed foam collars to help stabilize the camera, and included an iPhone to help relay the craft’s GPS coordinates for tracking. Not too shabby for a photographer and a first-grader from Brooklyn…from anywhere really.
Luke claims that they researched and tested their designs for about 8 months before finally launching, but as you can see below, the video is pretty amazing.Not only did the launch go extremely well, but they were able to recover the capsule and all of the camera’s video footage. The success and subsequent fame of the launch has Luke and Max dreaming big. Their website, www.brooklynspaceprogram.org, has the full video of the launch, HD still images, t-shirts for sale, and even a place to make a reservations for a “How-to” book. Pretty impressive.
So kudos to you, Luke and Max Geissbuhler, for showing initiative and passion for exploration, for making Brooklyn proud, and for truly showing that the sky is the limit.