Mission SammyOne

High Altitude Photography



As an amateur aviation photographer I always keep an eye open for new ideas. Nice angles, colors or unusual situations, I like it all. Some time ago while browsing the internet, I came across a site from a group of radio amateurs that launched a weather balloon filled with Helium into near space and they brought pictures back to proof it. Those pictures looked stunning. You could see the curvature of the earth and the blackness of space.

I immediately liked the idea and started to investigate the whole thing. I found out that launching weather (or sounding) balloons is a real hobby for some people and I could easily find a couple of groups that did it. Most of them using HAM radio equipment to track the balloon and lots of soldering and self designed printed circuit boards.

Well, that was a problem already as I do not hold a radio license and I have two left hands. If I wanted to do it, I had to find off the shelve equipment.

I further decided to focus on the photography side of the project and bring back high quality photography and video material. I would do it in HD! At this point, I estimated my chance of success at at least 80%. During the project this dropped rapidly to around 2%.

As for a name. I just took the name from my daughter's favorite Pet Shop toy, Sammy the Little Hamster, and appended One to indicate that this might not be a one time only project. So, it became SammyOne. Strange name but not too bad. 

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The Idea

SammyOne is about sending a high altitude sounding balloon to the edge of space while taking pictures and video along the way.

It was launched on May 5th 2010.

SammyOne at its highest point, the edge of space