In May 2012, while the world’s eyes were on the Space X Dragon launch, another piece of history was made.
In the Scottish Highlands four intrepid Vangonauts attempted their first mission and managed to pitch a tent at 104,000ft (over three and a half times the height of Mt Everest).
Mission control was in the Scottish Highlands near Oban. The tent was launched in light winds, and initially headed South East, before catching the jetstream and heading North East.
The tent was tracked by GPS by the ground crew who were then able to plan a rendezvous with the campers post trip. The mission landed in wilderness near Loch Tay resulting in a 10km hike through snow, hail and bogs for the ground crew to rendezvous with the intrepid campers. It is hoped that in future Space Camping missions, less remote landings can be orchestrated for the convenience of the campers.
Project AirBeam® “Space Camping” Technical Data:
Initial ascent rate: Approx 5.5 metres per second
Trip duration: 1hour 42 mins
Trip ground distance:
- By Air: 68.91 Kilometres
- By Road: 95.8 Kilometres
Trip peak altitude: 31.5 Kilometres
Trip monitoring: 2 x GPS trackers giving location updated every 4 minutes to mission control.
Ground pressure: 1020 millibar.
Destination pressure: 3-4 millibar.
Helium use: 8 cubic metres
Launch balloon diameter (ground level): 2.5 metres
Launch balloon diameter (peak altitude): 10+ metres
- Stratospheric: Approx 70-80 metres per second
- Sub Tropopause: Approx 6 metres per second