While full of imagination and enthusiasm for their endeavor, the group lacked one vital resource for space travel—money. With only $300 to spend on the project, they engineered a spacecraft using a cooler, a weather balloon and a common digital camera programmed to take a photograph every five seconds. And since it gets really cold in space, they insulated the camera with chemical hand warmers.
Do you really have to send my BlackBerry into space?
How was the team to track and recover their high-flying invention? A cell phone, of course. One of the team members borrowed his mother’s AT&T BlackBerry and equipped it with a GPS mapping program the group could use to track the device via computer.
“It was important for the BlackBerry to have a strong signal when it came down,” said Flage. “Our calculations showed that the area it was coming down in had the strongest coverage map with AT&T.”
“I never really signed off on the BlackBerry,” said jerriDee Flage, who asked her son: “Do you really have to send my BlackBerry into space?” His mother wasn’t so sure, but finally gave in.
With the BlackBerry and our network, the team was able to track their high- flying cooler into and out of near-space. The balloon reached an altitude of 93,000 feet and traveled about 145 miles. The team was able to locate and recover its treasure trove of photos, recording their first successful space adventure, thanks in part to AT&T’s network.
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