was determined to see some success this time. After
the second launch, I had full confidence that the balloon
could make to the skies with the camera.
went to the helium shop to get another cylinder to top
up the same balloon (it had shrunk heaps by now). It
was inflated to 1.3m diameter, more than enough to carry
time, though, we quickly modified the payload and ditched
unnecessary parts like the foam case to desperately
shed some weight.
A shot of our house
taken on the way up at 20m
lifted off and began to rise quickly.
the transmitter a few times as it went up to test if
the shutter release mechanism I had installed was still
working. There was no drama around about 20m off the
ground, where we could all audibly hear the click of
the shutter. However, above that altitude it was unaudible
and there existed no indication of whether it was still
But it was
too late to turn back, and we let the balloon soar up
higher for a while, until about 120m AGL.
is a snap taken as the balloon drifted to the other
side of the house. This is still at about 20m AGL. The
camera took alot of pictures of random bits of the house
as it drifted everywhere. This was interesting as it
provided subsequent entertainment in the form of a jigsaw
random picture of the house. For scale, the satellite
dish is around 3m in diameter.
this is the only picture I'm satisfied with. This is
at around 50m AGL.
it turns out, the transmitter did not
work anymore than 50m above ground, even though we had
tested it to at least 150m a week before. The battery
must have drained, and such a damned pity too, because
the opportunity to get shots of the neighbourhood was
this image teaches a home owner several things...
Whoever cleaned the roof tiles did a half-hearted job.
The yellow capped bin is an eyesore.
with the pictures, here is the one that we painstakingly
jigsaw puzzled together.
Its a bit
out of scale in some areas, obviously because they're
all taken at slightly different altitudes.
This is quite
artistic, I think...
we brought the balloon down after all the film had been
exposed, it promptly exploded about 2m above the roof.
And a balloon that big makes a big boom. It fell on
the roof with a big CLUNK and the camera was smashed
to bits as it bounced down the roof and onto concrete.
What a dramatic finish!
didn't care about the camera though. Rather, I had to
make sure that the film canister hadn't been exposed
before the film had been wound back. Luckily though,
it hadn't (obviously, since you've already seen the
was almost the end of the balloon project. It had
been a partial success - I had originally planned
for the transmitter to actually work and to take a
couple of pics of the neighbourhood. But hey, at least
we got one good photo.
some helium left in the cylinder, and I thought it'd
better be used so we get maximum fun for our buck
(helium gas does not come cheap). So we filled up
a total of 18 small 30cm balloons (standard size)
and tied this message to all of them...
This message was attached to a helium balloon and let
go in the northern suburbs of Darwin, on the 13th of
January as part of the Balloon Project by ‘Penguin’.
Obviously, you’ve found this message somewhere,
and we’d like to know where and when you found
it, and the condition of the burst balloon that this
message was attached to.
Please contact Penguin either by phone: (08) ********,
or by email (****@hotmail.com). This information is
very important to us, and we hope you will take the
time to get in contact with us. We will respond to your
message with any questions you may have.
notes and balloons ready for tying
was tied to an inflated balloon by string, and let
go into the air. The wind blew south, if I remember
correctly, so that was good, because then they wouldn't
drift into the ocean.
its been a long time (by that I mean since Jan 2006),
and I haven't got any responses. I can only imagine
where on earth they ended up, probably in some shrubland
or some poor guy's farm.