Wednesday February 10, 2016

Weather balloon guys do it again, send their GoPro way up high

The group Night Crew Labs recently launched a weather balloon into space, strapped with a GoPro. It captured incredible views from 91,000 feet in the air.

The group Night Crew Labs recently launched a weather balloon into space, strapped with a GoPro. It captured incredible views from 91,000 feet in the air. (PROVIDED)

Listen 5:51

A group of engineers who gathered camera footage in space with the help of a weather balloon have done it again.

As It Happens first brought you the story back in September. Canadian Bryan Chan and a group of friends strapped a GoPro camera to a weather balloon, and crossed their fingers. But when it came back down to earth, the balloon was nowhere to be found. That was until a hiker eventually retrieved it two years later in the Grand Canyon -- along with some amazing footage:

That was ambitious enough. But Chan and his friends didn't want to leave things there. They started a collective called Night Crew Labs -- and decided to send up another weather balloon.

"It was an emotional feeling getting this thing back after two years. But we sort of wanted to show people that we can do a mission, and retrieve it in one day like we're supposed to [instead of two years later]. Partially, there was a bit of pride there," Chan says.

balloon shot

A shot of San Francisco, including the Golden Gate Bridge, taken from a GoPro thousands of feet in the air, thanks to a weather balloon. (PROVIDED)

Chan is an aerospace systems engineer. He was born in Toronto but has lived most of his life in the San Francisco Bay Area.

He says they launched this latest balloon -- strapped with a DSLR camera, GoPro cameras, and a GPS device -- from a park in San Francisco on a clear, sunny day. And it wasn't long before the camera began to collect shots like this:

SF weather balloon shot

A shot of San Francisco taken by a GoPro camera thousands of feet in the air, with the help of a weather balloon launched by Night Crew Labs. (PROVIDED)

They even managed to record the moment from space, when the balloon popped at 91,000 feet.

balloon burst collage

This shot was taken 91,000 feet in the air, just as the weather balloon burst and activated a parachute, to take the device down to earth. It eventually landed near Salinas, about 160 km away from San Francisco, where it was launched. (PROVIDED)

For the full process of how Chan and the members of Night Crew Labs put the weather balloon project together, here's the video they released on Wednesday:

To find out more about Chan and Night Crew Labs take a listen to our interview and check out their website. They're currently planning another weather balloon flight from Alaska, where they hope to record the northern lights from space.