Inspired by a video showing a Lego man launched into the stratosphere by high school kids using a weather balloon, a California dad decided to launch his son’s toy 18 miles high using the same procedure. Last month they documented the liftoff of the boy’s favorite train “Stanley” into space in a highly entertaining video.
Dad added music to the video — and animated some facial expressions on the train bringing Stanley to life, like in the “Thomas the Tank Engine” series on PBS, from which the toy is derived.
They attached a small HD camera and an old cell phone to the balloon that could provide GPS tracking after the landing. Dad estimates that Stanley traveled 18 miles high before the balloon broke.
The camera records the toy tumbling quickly back to earth. It was recovered 27 miles away in a corn field.
“We got some great footage of the trip — from liftoff to landing,” he wrote on his YouTube page, which has now been viewed well over a million times.
“I animated Stanley’s face with After Effects and Photoshop to bring him to life, how I imagine my son sees him.”
Fugelseth took a number of precautions before launching Stanley into the sky: “I called the FAA 15 minutes before launch (per their instructions) so they could make sure no planes fly into the flight path. I read and followed all their rules for weather balloon launches.” (It even had a homemade radar reflector, and a 3 foot parachute.)
He also made sure the launch area would pretty much assure a safe landing on agricultural lands.
(WATCH the video below…)