Photographing the Stratosphere

Sending a camera in the stratosphere to take some photographs is nowadays within reach of the technically-oriented amateur. This section describes my researches in the field. I have flown a balloon to 32 km high over Italy, taking some interesting photos, and I have written some software to be used on this sort of missions, to be run on CHDK-enabled cameras.

These scripts have already flown succesfully a few times times to the stratosphere, this is a list of the missions that I know that have used them

  • 2008 - ICBNN Mission Launched on December 30th 2008 in Florida by Donald Shrum and Wil Johnson. This is the launch taht started all, as it was the occasion for me to write the scripts
  • 2009 - Minihab I mission. Launched over Tuscany on June 13th 2009 by me, with the help of a few friends. This was the occasion for me to get the thrill of a first-hand experience
  • 2010 - Martijn&Kasper's mission Launched over Belgium on May 27th 2010 by Martijn Debever&Kasper Verfaillie. Two Belgian students doing this as a year-project for their school, they did a brilliant job and managed to work around their budget problems by hitchhiking! They got to put their payload on  one of the balloons launched by Belgian weather service.
  • 2010 - Stratospera ILaunched over central Italy on september 4th 2010.

This software was written to overcome some of the shortcomings of the Canon compact cameras in regard to these projects. While the main application is on stratosphere helium balloons, they have been used on other unmanned aereal vehicles (UAV) such as remote controlled planes.