Design News is part of the Informa Markets Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

iPhone in space? Yep, there's an app for that.

screen-shot-2010-09-25-at-120509-am.jpgI ran across a reference to the Brooklyn Space Program in a post to one of the LinkedIn groups that I’m a member of.  From their WWW page:

The Brooklyn Space Program is a organization formed by a group of friends in New York City interested in scientific experiments, engineering, design and education.

The first project of the Brooklyn Space Program was pretty ambitions:  They committed themselves to sending an iPhone (and HD video camera) into space, and returning them safely to the Earth.

Luke Geissbuhler and his son designed a payload consisting of a bright orange Styrofoam container (looks like a takeout box?), containing an iPhone and an HD video camera.  The video camera peeks out of a hole in the container, and the iPhone is so the payload can call you after the mission is over, and tell you where it is.  The payload also incorporates a hand warmer to keep the electronics happy at the low temperatures encountered at that altitude.

The flight was performed with a weather balloon, and reached an ultimate height of 90,000 feet, or 17 miles.  That is a long ways from the Kármán line, but is still well into the stratosphere and, at least according to the Brooklyn Space Program, above 99.9% of the Earth’s atmosphere. At that height the balloon popped and the payload, which had been ascending at 17 mph, slowed its ascent and began to fall.  The payload incorporated a parachute, but with no atmosphere to brake against the payload fell at an initial velocity of 150 mph.  Upon reaching denser air the parachute slowed the payload to 15 mph.

The payload was found about 15 miles away from the launch site, in the top of a tree. As it traveled through the stratosphere it encountered winds in excess of 100 miles per hour.

The Design News Gadget Freak column gives a tip of the hat to Luke and his son for their journey into near space.

Steve Ravet

Design News gadgeteer

Send in your gadget! Design News is always looking for new gadgets to feature in the print edition of the magazine.  Mechanical, electrical, pneumatic, whatever.  Believe me, if they’ll run my hot-rodded Billy Bass they’ll run anything.  If you’ve creating something clever and would like to see it in print, submit it to the Design News editors:

You’ll get the thrill of seeing your product show up in a print magazine right in your mailbox, and you’ll get a check for $500 as well.

Hide comments


  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <blockquote> <br> <p>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.