According to Steve Schnier, no one has ever sent a model of the U.S.S. Enterprise into space before. That’s not a world he wanted to live in, so he decided to do it himself. On April 28th Schnier and his wife Heather Shaw used a balloon to launch a model of the Enterprise 100,000 feet in the air. That’s not quite space, but at just under 19 miles high, it sure makes for a lovely video.
Take a look at the voyage of the model of the U.S.S. Enterprise:
I spoke to Schnier via email today about the launch. He used to work in animation, but now considers himself “in the business of Awesome,” and after seeing this video I’m inclined to agree. The video has almost as much lens flare as the JJ Abrams Star Trek.
Schnier said he was surprised that in all the years since Star Trek has been part of the culture no one has ever put a replica of the Enterprise into space. He took it upon himself to make it happen, but after realizing he didn’t really know how to send something into space — or more importantly how to get it back — he contacted the folks at High Altitude Science about his mission.
The main obstacles to Schnier’s Enterprise launch were the government issues associated with attempting a space launch, and he assured me there were many. The Enterprise launched from Stayner, Ontario, Canada on what was supposed to be a calm day in terms of wind. There were almost additional government complications because due to unexpected weather conditions, instead of heading North as expected, the balloon and the Enterprise headed south towards the U.S./Canadian border.
Crossing international borders is generally a major “don’t” when it comes to amateur space exploration, but Schnier lucked out and the balloon landed in the Georgian Bay of Lake Huron where it was rescued by a water taxi just as its on-board GPS was failing.
The lesson we’re choosing to take away from this, despite all the potential legal troubles, is that sending things into space (or close to it) with a balloon and a camera is pretty great.
Update: Looks like someone beat Schnier to the punch in terms of Enterprise models in almost-space
Thanks to reader Shannon Downey for the link to the Picard & Kirk video!
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