Lake Tahoe Launch … Messy and Worth It – The Short Version

So after last week’s debacle … we learned to be patient and wait for better wind conditions. Here’s the short version of what happened. We inflated on the beach at DL Bliss State Park:


Paddle boarded the balloon out where the clear water of Lake Tahoe was about 45 feet deep:


With a snorkeler for help (he also shot some great video with a GoPro I’ll share another time):


Next we launched with 2 GoPro cameras 40 feet deep in the lake at the end of a line and 4 more on other payloads:


Here are some of the views we got:

For size reference: Lake Tahoe is almost 22 miles long and a bit more than 11 miles wide. (35 km long X 19 km wide). The lake is 1645 feet deep (501 meters).

Lake Tahoe, Carson City, Nevada, Reno and Pyramid Lake from 90,000 feet + (near space)


Then the balloon burst somewhere between 95,000 and 100,000 feet – follow the link to see the frame by frame of the burst:

And the video:



Then it landed and we went and got it:

There was some animal byproduct to deal with:

It was a great day!

Here is a link to more photos.

NOTE: This launch was part of a project being developed by the University of Nevada, Reno- Mechanical Engineering Department, the 21st Century Division of the Washoe County School District, and Nevada’s Northwest Regional Professional Development Program (who I work for now). We were trying out some technologies and possible engineering and science problems to turn over to area K-12 students to solve for a similar launch next April or May – still in the planning stages.

Learning is messy!

This entry was posted in Digital Video, Education, Field Trips, Inclusion, Messy Learning, Project Based, STEM, Student Access, Teacher Access, Technology. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Lake Tahoe Launch … Messy and Worth It – The Short Version

  1. Laurie Anne says:

    Love it.
    I’ve got to repost of course.

    Have fun.

    BRIAN: of course you do! :)

  2. Jim Shepherd says:

    Great project! Are you using APRS for tracking the balloon? If not, I may be able to help you.

    BRIAN – Jim – We have used APRS in the past (and may in the future) – we were trying a new technology but a battery and its backup failed. Used Spots as a backup and that worked flawlessly – so we found the balloon easily. :)

  3. Dustin Parulis says:

    These pictures are amazing! Awesome Project!

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