Timon Singh

British 19-Year-Old Takes Incredible Satellite Pictures Using a £30 Camera and a Helium Balloon.

by , 09/10/12

Adam Cudworth, HABE, HABE 5, satellite, space photography, balloons, nasa, international space station, canon, nottingham university, acudworth.co.uk

It seems that taking amazing pictures of Earth from space is no longer a task solely for NASA and astronauts on board the International Space Station. A 19-year old teenager in the UK has managed to take incredible photos of the Earth from space by floating a £30 camera into the atmosphere using a large helium balloon.

Adam Cudworth, HABE, HABE 5, satellite, space photography, balloons, nasa, international space station, canon, nottingham university, acudworth.co.uk

In a story that’s a cross between Pixar’s Up and Star Trek, 19-year old Adam Cudworth managed to capture these incredible views on a mere budget of £200.

With just an A-level in Physics to qualify him, Adam was able to construct a home-made device consisting of a box containing a GPS, radio and microprocessor. After 40 hours of working on his gadget (and detailing it all on his blog), Adam attached it to a balloon and it soared to an incredible height of 110,210 ft (33,592m). The device took two and a half hours to get 20 miles up into the atmosphere, before it took impressive views of Earth from space. Adam used a GPS tracker to track the device’s ascension and also an attached radio transmitter to find it when it fell back to earth.

Speaking to The Telegraph, Adam from Ombersley in Worcsestershire  said: “It’s just a bit of hobby really, I just wanted to set myself a challenge – but I’m amazed at the results. I saw a guy who did a similar thing a couple of years back and I just wanted to recreate them – but better.

“I have no background in astrophysics or anything like that, I’m just an engineering student. People think its something that costs millions of pounds but I’ve proved you can do it on just a £200 budget.”

For the photography buffs among you, the camera Adam used was a standard Canon A570 camera which he placed it in an insulated box along with a small video camera, two temperature sensors, two high-performance solar panels, a tracking device, microprocessor and radio. He then attached it to a high-altitude two meter latex balloon with a parachute – and named his contraption HABE 5.

“When I retrieved the camera I was stunned – it had captured some incredible photos and footage,” said Adam. “The exposure settings were different to my previous two attempts and I used materials which would be more robust in extreme temperatures and this led to clearer photos at altitude.

“The on-board video camera recorded great footage close to the ground after launch, however the lens fogged up at about 3km in altitude because moisture got in the lens – but it still looked rather impressive.

“I’m now working on project, which will allow me to control where the box lands when it falls back to earth. But that’s work in progress at the minute and I’ll have to be content with this for now.”

Video footage of the ascension can be viewed here and here

+ Adam Cudworth

via The Telegraph

Images: Adam Cudworth’s HABE 5 Flickr Page

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