We launched a helium filled weather balloon from the posted coordinates. Beneath this balloon carried our custom electronics including GPS, APRS tracking, camera, and a small Geocache filled with sunflower seeds.
Liftoff was spectacular, and the package quickly disappeared above the clouds. We had to rely on GPS coordinates sent from the package every 30 seconds. The GPS was disabled at 80,000 feet due to government requirements in response to fears of improper use by rogue nations. So we had to wait until the balloon ruptured and the package returned back under the 80,000 feet ceiling before another signal was received. We estimated the package flew to a peak height of 99,715 feet.
During this flight time, the package traveled at times over 90 mph. The final destination was unknown, so we had two chase vehicles following as fast as possible (within the posted speed limits of course!). We got constant telemetry until the package fell below the foot hills north of Mount Hood, and into a ravine. Our last coordinates got us close. As we drove up the mountain back roads, we kept the laptop running in case we got a final landing coordinates. We were prepared for a ground search with a directional antenna and a beacon attached to the electronics package. However, as we rounded a corner on top of a ridge, a final landing coordinate was received. 45 36.870 -121 42.860
We parked as close as we could, and hiked to the landing site. When we found the package, we saw amazing pictures from the onboard camera of clouds wrapped around our local mountain tops, the curvature of earth, and the blackness of space. Amazing!
Visit our link to the Amazing Pictures
So here is where YOU can help with our experiment. The onboard sunflower seeds in the Geocache were exposed to the inhospitable high altitude environment. I have placed these “space” seeds along with “control” seeds (normal) in separate containers within the Geocache lid. I ask you to take 1 seed from each container, and plant at your yard next spring. Please report back if you see any difference between these two plants. I am excited to know the outcome.
So here is how to get to the final coordinates to the Space Cache Experiment. The starting coodinates are for the beginning of the trail to get to the cache.
You may find the location of this cache is very appropriate. >>
BEWARE of the TRIPWIRE at the beginning of the path. Just step over it and you will be fine!<<