The Internet can very often, truly, be a “web” of information, and more so now with the steady rise of social media. There is no dearth of viral videos, meme and enumerated articles telling you things you may already know. But every once in a while, comes along something exceptional, such as this project by a father from Finland, who wanted to send his children into space!
“I have three daughters and six godsons,” explains Tero Tähtinen, an engineer from Tuusula, Finland. “As they grow, it's harder and harder to figure out what kind of Christmas present to give them. Goal of project was to send my kids and my friend's kids on a trip to space, so to speak, and give them a memory they can cherish for a lifetime,” he adds.
While explaining how the idea for such a unique project came about, he says, “My work takes up a lot of my time. However, last December I decided to change that and create something that is close to my heart, as a father and as an engineer. I have always been interested in photography and space, and I wanted a project that would be a challenge.”
And challenges there were many. “There aren't any guidelines on how to send weather balloons to space in your own country. I had to negotiate with local authorities for months to get the permission and the route that took almost 30km is also quite harsh. The temperature can drop below -50c and wind can be more than 100km/h,” he narrates.
But the end result did make all the efforts worth it.
Explaining how the project was executed, he says, “I had three GPS-trackers that I programmed to send data to map service called Karttaselain. One was sending data to satellites and two to GSM-network.”
“After five kilometres, though, they all stopped sending the signal as there was no GSM-field in space. We had the estimated flight path, and if we would have trusted the estimation we would have seen it landing,” he says.
“But since there was location blackout for over one and half hours, we stopped halfway. However, when the location data came back online, the balloon was exactly there where it was supposed to be!” he adds with much excitement.
The camera was found a few metres away from the balloon landing. “What we saw was unbelievably beautiful. Everything went as planned, the photos of the kids were all clearly visible and the earth was also covered very well,” says a proud Tähtinen. “The video was better than I could have ever thought!”
Watch the complete director's cut of the brilliant video:
Coolest dad ever or what: A visibly satisfied Tähtinen with his children!