Greetings! Thank you for taking a moment to check out this exhibition. This particular photo and camera rig were used in the May 2021 High Altitude Balloon launch to 100,255 feet for the Tom Sachs || Nikecraft: Mars Yard 2.5 Wear Tester program.
This is an actual image from 100,255 feet above central Texas; this is NOT a Photoshop composite. I’ve included some pictures here for context around the launch, tracking, and recovery of the balloon payload.
From launch to balloon burst was just under 2 hours and the descent was about :30 minutes. The distance from launch to recovery was ~40 miles on this particular day. Recovery was not straightforward and there were two attempts and eventually a stream crossing into thick wooded areas.
The balloon was a Kaymont 1200 gram latex balloon filled with ~210 cubic feet of Helium. The entire payload weighed ~3100 grams including 3 GoPro cameras, an APRS transmitter (W3ARD-11), SPOT GEN 3 GPS tracker, Pixhawk flight controller (as data logger), my son’s plastic space shuttle, and a pair of Mars Yard 2.5 sneakers.
Max Altitude – 100,255 feet
Ascent Rate – 944 feet/minute
Ascent Time – 1:48:56
Descent Rate – 1100 feet/minute (avg)
Descent Time – 0:28:56
Lateral Speed (max) – 46 mph
Vertical Speed (max) – 172 mph
Balloon diameter (launch) – 5 feet
Balloon diameter (burst) – 28 feet
Approx cost: $2000
Including helium/balloon (expended)
Custom camera rig (recovered)
Various cameras and tracking radios (recovered)
Nike Mars Yard 2.5 (priceless – recovered)
Purchasing a Photo
If you are interested in purchasing a copy of the photo/s, please contact me at
Josh_Ward at me.com
This project was 100% self funded but if you’re inclined to to buy a cup of coffee:
Josh Ward – Waco TX
Balloon Program Website
General Class Radio License