Active Region 1429 unleashed a M8-class solar flare in the early hours of March 10, 2012. Perfect time to launch a high altitude balloon mission to the Edge of Space to measure any solar radiation. After a little over 2 hours I reached 119,000 feet and the balloon burst. See, up that high there is barely any pressure and so the balloon keeps expending until it pops. For a few seconds it feels like zero-gravity before it goes back down.
I had a great flight. I endured temperatures as low as -60 C, air pressures akin to those on the planet Mars, and a brief free fall at 500 mph before parachuting nearly 40 km to the Earth below.
The radiation badge is being analyzed and we should have some data soon. As high up as this was, it was only 1/10th of the altitude of the International Space Station.
Follow my friends over at Virginia Tech this week. They got inspired by our first flight, BTS-1, and are launching this weekend out of Virginia. They also take time to go into classrooms around Virginia talking about their mission and get younger students excited about the Science & Engineering aspects of flying a high altitude balloon. Follow them here: http://www.facebook.com/VirginiaTechATE
This was my 3rd flight to the Stratosphere and it has always been a blast!