Odd Box

A home for the weird and wacky in the weather ballooning world. Send your pictures to balloonnews@hotmail.co.uk

21st September 2015

Source http://www.wired.com/2015/09/balloon-spy-probe-deep-sweep/

Hackers Launch Balloon Probe Into the Stratosphere to Spy on Drones


The hacker group's one-foot-diameter probe hanging from a weather balloon as it floats into the clouds above Germany.

1st August 2015

Creativity takes flight

Students from The Baird Primary Academy, Hastings have sent a Puffin fantasy book into near-space to promote literacy and creativity. They have retrieved the footage of the space launch and edited it into an (awesome!) video.

YouTube video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=faUh3_5CFfA

‘At The Baird Primary Academy, we are willing to go ‘above and beyond’ to ensure that Every Child Succeeds.  Give us seven minutes of your time and we’ll show you an epic journey, including:  inspired students, a Puffin fantasy book that’s out of this world, an adventure across the channel to recover the payload before it sank and, most importantly, the impact of our determination in raising pupils’ progress rates in reading.’

Katherin Weeks, Vice Principal.

Acrobatic author Marcus Alexander has been supporting the Baird Primary Academy as a Patron of Reading. Upon hearing one of the students remark,  ‘When I read Keeper of the Realms I feel as though I’m taken out of this world…’ Marcus and the school Leadership Team thought this was the perfect opportunity to create a project that would tie students’ key subjects of Maths, Physics, Geography, Engineering and IT to the importance of literacy and creativity.

‘Above all this project #CreativityTakesFlight is a drive for reading. By sending a book into space students have reinforced the importance of literacy and the principle that books can inspire dreams.’ Marcus Alexander

The Baird Primary Principal, Ms Tenn, says ‘3 out of 10 girls do not own a book at home, and 4 out of 10 boys do not own a book at home. This project is helping make reading exciting and highlight the importance of where literacy can take you – literally into outer space.’

In conjunction with the Academy’s Improvement Plan, the project produced phenomenal results. Over the year literacy rates soared:

•           93% year 6 students made expected progress in reading

•           89% year 5 students made expected progress in reading

•          Overall The Baird Primary Academy saw a 24% increase in reading compared to the previous year’s published figures. 

Full project details: http://whoischarliekeeper.com/creativity-takes-flight 

The Baird Academy: http://www.thebairdprimaryacademy.org.uk/

Keeper of the Realms: http://whoischarliekeeper.com/ 

Acrobatic and adrenaline author video: https://youtu.be/wkwOMeNS5yM


6th February 2015

This video dates from 2008 but I have just come across it. It highlights the hazards of using Hydrogen to fill weather balloons.

Details about the shirt film can be found by opening it in Youtube.

13th October 2014

While this video is two years old I think the nature of this project is very odd. Traditionally fireworks were let off at night and we looked up at them. This is certainly an odd way of looking at the fireworks display, so is well worth putting in the odd box.

25th August 2014

Tied of comfortable and clean offices with mains electricity, these American ‘aerospace engineers’ took a 3D printer on a HAB flight to print something in the Stratosphere. In true odd box style there was something truely odd going on in their payload box.



December 2013

An 18’s and over entertainment doll in space. Well it isn’t the most explicit thing in near space but Balloon News is family friendly web site. But if you want want more of this brand of HAB then read this article. Over 18’s only.

But if you want want more of this brand of HAB then read this article. Over 18’s only.


December 2013

Friends School Lisburn did a HAB flight in April. The payload box was lost over the Irish sea but turned up on a Scottish beach. Here is the video the school made of the adventure.

It was only a matter of time before Santa turned up in the Odd box. Well done Startodean http://www.stratodean.co.uk/

October 2013

Well done Jon Chippindall, 31 and entrepreneur Ian Cunningham, 29. One of probably many HAB flights to honour the release of the film, ‘Gravity’.

It was only a matter of time before the UFO fakers got into high altitude ballooning.


source http://beforeitsnews.com/alternative/2013/10/black-knight-satellite-captured-in-space-with-homemade-weather-balloon-camera-video-2806120.html

August 2013

After reporting on the Odd Box, I thought it was about time I made an entry as well.

May 2013

Kyle Andrews used a HAB flight with an Ipad payload to promote his music video, ‘The Way to Wonder’.


What I wonder about Kyle, is the safety and permission of the flight. It looks too close to an airport to me.

March 2013

Shoe in near space. What other items of clothing will follow next? HAB flight by Earth to sky Calculus.

Caption suggestions please

Caption suggestions please

Condom Radio Sondes? It is April 1st 2013 but this is no joke 🙂 !

Anders Petersson used a condom as the balloon to test his palm size Windsond radio sonde.

Condom powered Windsond

Condom powered Windsond

Here is Anders description in his own words. “The team and I launched a sond a few days ago by inflating a condom with helium. Condoms are much lighter than regular balloons but above all they improve the mood of the mission participants considerably. ;) The helium volume was estimated to 17 liters. This gave an average ascent rate of 1.5 m/s. The ascent rate given the neck lift 15.1g should be 1.0 m/s so the shape of the condom probably helped to improve the speed.

The condom burst a bit prematurely at 2400m AGL, a few hundred meters before the sond was instructed to let go. The temperature had dropped from 0*C on the ground to -12.4*C at this altitude. Although it’s doubtful condoms are designed to “operate” at freezing temperatures, the gas expansion at the altitude is the probable cause of the burst. On the other hand, a ground test showed a condom of the same model could contain over 40 liters of air before popping but maybe there are variations between copies. I considered to write a complaint to the manufacturer over this blatant product failure. ;-)

The launch was done in the evening, after dark. While the sond was still falling, I activated the beacon strobe by a button in the GUI. We were still 3-4 km away from the falling payload but the brief flashes of light were clearly visible, like a shooting star. The sond landed 65 m from the location originally predicted at 2400m altitude. In the dark, the blinking was very effective to locate the sond. The whole enclosure lit up and illuminated a meter of the ground around it. In the open landscape, the beeping was faintly audible at 200 m distance.”

As boring as watching paint dry? Waiting for paint balls to explode. March 2013

Bemidji Middle school, USA, use a HAB to test the effect of atmospheric pressure on paint balls.

If you can’t wait to know what happened to the paint balls, or can’t stand the siren, then the ‘critical’ moment then fast forward to the 8th minute of the video.

Red nose in a hamster ball ? – March 2013 This is a nice little publicity stunt by BBC Scotland and Strathclyde University … but I thought red nose day was there to raise money… not spend it .

Balloon Burst March 2012 (a picture from last year but it was a cool one)

More Near Space food anyone? January 18th 2013

This weeks Slovak HAB project testing our a Raspberry Pi powered camera sensor also had a rather unusual addition to it’s payload… the national dish from the Slovak Republic.


For more information about the HAB flight go to


Ramin from STSPROJECT (http://stsproject.net/) explained the strange addition to the payload, “Our flight (just gas and balloon) is the first time sponsored by someone – technical section of the one of the biggest Slovak newspaper  –http://tech.sme.sk. It should be their anniversary flight – 20 years of SME newspaper.

Our press sponsor decided to send to the stratosphere their newspaper title page and traditional Slovak dish – dumplings with the sheep cheese. As you can see, these dumplings are little bit smaller than gnocchi. For Slovak people are these dumplings/gnocchi like pizza or pasta for Italian people.”

Umbrellachute January 2013

Unhappy with their parachute from Project Aether, some school children from Cockermouth built their own from an umbrella. 10/10 for your clever design!

Source http://theateamballoon.wordpress.com/page/4/

January 12th 2013 Tardis… surely it was only a matter of time


This launch was done for Stargazing live 2013. It was organised by Carl Jones from Stourbridge. Well done Carl, a great recreation of some of the early BBC special effects. More information can be found about this launch at the Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/pages/Tardis-The-Edge-of-Space-Project/397739020251288


The vegetable payload – March 2012


The potatoe payload. March 2012

May 2012 WildMan Bill couldn’t get helium so he…you won’t believe this … used his home natural gas supply.



May 2012 -Space Camping

Action man, Cindy and their friends go camping in the great British summer.

What was he trying to do with his leaf blower? June 2012

What was he trying to do with his leaf blower?

Sushi on a Payload -July 2012

Sushi on a payload…really? A snack for migrating birds? July 2012


15th September 2012 One leg lamp on payload…surely the sun is bright enough?

Leg lamp

For more of this go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DJMAQBin2Nw

18th October 2012 The first of what will probably be many ‘Felix Baumgartner’ Imitations

For more of this go to http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-news/felix-baumgartner-jump-recreated-in-lego-1380587

What happens to marshmallows in near space?

October 2012

What happens to marshmallows in the low pressure of nearspace? A question which often keeps me awake at night. Fortunately a teenager from Illinois, USA has answered the question during a nearspace flight. Here are the marshmallows and this is the result. For more details go to http://www.projectblacksky.com/index.html

Close to the ground.

High up in the stratosphere. Can you see the difference?

Marshmallow graph from Project Black Sky

November 5th 2012

Obama and Romney in pre election Weather balloon trip

Mitt Romney

“We estimate that the balloon reached 120,000 [feet],” Earth to Sky Calculus, a group of middle- and high-schoolers from Bishop, Calif., wrote on Facebook Wednesday. “It was a crystal clear, gorgeous fall day in the western United States!”

Onboard cameras documented the flight, recording the dolls’ rise into the skies over east-central California and their dizzying descent after the balloon popped high above the Earth.

One video of the Obama and Romney dolls’ flight, in fact, captures the transition from serenity to chaos after the balloon pops. The Obama doll’s head is peacefully surveying the desert-mountain landscape one moment and bobbling furiously the next.

Earth to Sky Calculus eventually tracked down the fallen balloon and recovered its payload, group members said on Facebook.

Monday’s launch wasn’t the first balloon flight for some of the Bishop school kids. They also lofted a balloon in early September, as part of a project called The Golden iPod.

The students of the Earth to Sky project sent a bobblehead doll of President Obama flying on a weather balloon over Owens Valley, CA, on Nov. 5, 2012, in honor of Election Day.

The Golden iPod is a nod to the Golden Records aboard NASA’s Voyager spacecraft, which launched in 1977 and are now nearing the edge of interstellar space. The records are meant to provide any aliens who may come across them an introduction to our species and our planet; they contain selections of some of our most celebrated music, greetings in 55 different human languages and much more.

The Golden iPod project aims to fill a 16-gigabyte mp3 player with more indicators and accomplishments of human culture, then launch it to Earth orbit in 2013.

“We plan to fill our iPod with the best humanity has to offer — old and new,” team member Anna Herbst said in a statement. “Then, if all goes as planned, we’re going to send it to space.”

Before it leaves the planet, the Golden iPod will visit the stratosphere during a series of high-altitude balloon flights, team members said. The first flight took place Sept. 5.


Mr Obama

Fast food in Near Space….more food for the migrating birds

5th November 2012

Harvard students put hamburger into near space. With the help of Boston-area burger chain b.good, five friends from Harvard conducted their burger launch on October 27 from Sturbridge, Massachusetts. To keep the burger solid and stable, they coated the two-day old burger with spray-on varnish, glued it together, and screwed it to an acrylic board. They attached the board to a box containing a GoPro Hero and an HTC Rezound phone, and secured the box to a helium-filled, 600 gram weather balloon.This was all to help advertise the b.good restaurant but if you see the state of the burger then it is hardly a good advert for tasty eating. And who ever said gifted students don’t really take advantage of their education.

For more info go to http://www.bgood.com/ournewsletters.php and if you eat at this restaurant, make sure you don’t eat a burger that looks like this.

Burger at 90,000 ft

Burger at 90,000 ft

4 thoughts on “Odd Box

  1. Pingback: Tardis on a payload, surely it was only a matter of time! | Balloon News

  2. Pingback: Waiting for paint balls to explode, it’s as tiresome as watching paint dry | Balloon News

  3. Pingback: Condom Powered Radio Sonde | Balloon News

  4. Pingback: Apple in the sky | Balloon News

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