On Wednesday of this week, I went to film Dave Akerman and Anthony Stirk launching two high altitude weather balloons. One of them had a Raspberry Pi inside a TARDIS as its payload.
It was cold. In the video you’ll see it looks almost as if Dave is smoking at one point. That would have been a bad idea as the 70 kg red cylinders are full of highly explosive Hydrogen gas.
Slight cheating on the Vid
I confess in advance that I did have to cheat slightly with the video. Dave was really keen to get footage from the webcam on launch, so I didn’t get much of the TARDIS balloon going up. But I did some ascent shots of AVA, flight 1. Most ‘film producers’ wouldn’t tell you that, but the balloon enthusiasts will notice different balloon shape and payload, so I’m declaring it here. ;)
It was cold
My fingers were cold and I was wearing gloves (albeit full of holes
because they are old so I could film). Anthony and Dave had quite a few intricate, fiddly operations to do – tying bits of cord and connecting electronics. At times it was quite hard in the cold.
They worked together really well and as if they’d been doing it for years.
I got to hold the balloon
At one point they both needed to be involved in attaching the TARDIS and webcam to the balloon so I held the “large latex balloon full of Hydrogen” for a few minutes. That was quite a thrill and honour.
I had to leave at 12 to go and teach a Year 5 ICT class. So we parted ways at that point and Dave and Anthony went off in Dave’s chase vehicle to what was to be a fairly simple retrieval about 2.5 hours later.
In the meantime, the balloon and TARDIS rose to ~35.5 km above our heads. It was a successful flight and Dave got some great photos from ~35km up. You can see more of them here…
You can read Dave’s account of the flights first-hand on his blog here
I had a lot of fun. Thanks Dave and Anthony for having me along :)
Here’s a few more photos…