KENTUCKY, UNITED STATES – Six middle-school girls from Bowling Green, Kentucky, hatched an idea to launch a camera into space. With the help of family and backers on Kickstarter, the girls have photographic evidence, taken from 22 miles above Earth, to prove that they have accomplished their mission.
The project started when Anna Scifres dreamed up the idea of sending a camera into space “just because it sounded cool.” Anna mentioned the idea to Mini Ganesh, a classmate with a scientific bent. Before long, four more girls from Cumberland Trace Elementary School joined the team: Hope Hardison, Emma Brittenham, Lexi Stewart, and Maia Madison. Anna’s dad, David Scifres also agreed to help.
They posted their project on Kickstarter to raise $3000 to buy the gear they needed. Their expectations were exceeded when 226 backers around the world pledged a total of $5100.
The team had to learn about everything from weather balloons to high-definition cameras, and work together to address a host of technical challenges.
They launched the balloon and its payload: two high-definition video cameras, one high-resolution still camera, and three GPS trackers, outside Bowling Green, Kentucky. The balloon reached 118,000 feet before dropping back to earth behind a Church in Lafayette, Tennessee.
Enlarged photographs were printed as rewards for the project backers and images are available on the website, The Edge and Back, where the entire project is documented.