Spaceblimp-1 recovered after 75 days; photographs online!

Oct 21, 2010

Back in August of 2010 HacDC launched a prototype near-space probe, designated Spaceblimp-1 in preparation for entering the Hackerspaces In Space competition run by Workshop 88. Unfortunately we lost contact with Spaceblimp-1 a few hours after launch and were unable to locate the instrument package that day.

Sometime yesterday afternoon, one of the members of the Spaceblimp team received an interesting phone call. By all accounts it seemed that Spaceblimp-1 had been found but the labels on the housing were somewhat damaged, so the finder had mis-dialed one of the numbers. The individual who was called, one Bob Dehn, found his curiousity piqued, did a bit of searching and used the Spaceblimp project entries on the HacDC website to get in contact with Bokunenjin. On top of that, a few times yesterday afternoon my cellphone had logged messages in my voicemail from a number that appeared to be suspicously out in the middle of nowhere as the state of Virginia reckons it. I wasn't able to return the calls until last night after I got home from work (as I'm still digging out from under everything that's piled up since I went on vacation two weeks ago). As it turned out the Spaceblimp prototype had been found and was waiting for another of the members of the Spaceblimp team to pick it up.

Spaceblimp-1 is back in the hands of HacDC as of 2005 EST5EDT yesterday. Long story short, the instrument package is a little damaged but still in good shape (photographs courtesy of David Lindsay). The duct tape held admirably even though some of the labels were partially illegible (I'm curious about the bits that look burned, personally). Most importantly, the camera is in one piece and 1542 photographs taken during the flight were recovered from onboard storage (photographs courtesy of David Lindsay again), though a few of the pictures were too blurry to be worth posting. The Spaceblimp Project Google Map has been updated with all of the relevant information, including the LZs of both near-space probes.

Total time to recovery: approximately 75 days.