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h2. About the mission

*10 APRIL 2011: KiwiSpace Foundation has successfully launched a helium balloon above the Waikato and recovered its payload of cameras, tracking equipment and breathtaking images from the edge of space.*

While the MetService launches meteorological balloons regularly, KiwiSpace believes this is the first balloon launched with the goal of capturing images of New Zealand and space from very high altitudes.

We chose to launch the balloon on Sunday to honour the golden anniversary of human spaceflight and to celebrate the official incorporation of the Foundation. Fifty years ago on April 12, 1961, Russian Yuri Gagarin became the first man in space when he boarded spacecraft Vostok-1 and blasted off at 6:07am UTC (6:07pm NZST). He made a single orbit of the Earth and touched down again safely in the rural USSR 108 minutes later.

The balloon was launched at 8:48am on the morning of Sunday 10th April, climbed to 51,180 feet (15.6km), just beyond the 1950's definition of space, before popping and landing just east of Pirongia, near Hamilton. Recovery teams reached the payload at 11:12am and were delighted to find it intact and still taking pictures.

The part of the mission that left the ground cost around $3000 in personally owned electronics, and was been funded by members and sponsors.

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h5. Latest updates

*12 April: Celebrating 50 years today\!*
KiwiSpace today has released the first images from our space balloon launch, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of human spaceflight. More images and video will be released as soon as we can process them.


h2. Photos and Video


h2. Flight Path

*Map showing ground-track of the balloon. Each red dot represents a data packet received over the amateur radio APRS network, indicating position and altitude. Launch was from the north, near Taupiri.*

*3D rendering showing the flight-path of the balloon, and key milestones.*
!Flight Profile Annotated.png|border=1!

h2. The Payload

This first launch was a lightweight payload of around 520 grams, containing:
* Canon digital camera, with custom firmware to provide time-lapse photography;
* GPS and altimeter that transmitted the balloon's location and altitude using the amateur radio Automatic Packet Reporting System (APRS);
* Radio beacon to assist with directional location by the recovery crews; and
* Mobile phone, to provide additional location information and pictures.

Future launches will include additional high-resolution cameras, and more advanced tracking and release mechanisms

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!PORTAL:SHARED IMAGES^kiwispace_tightvertical_160x160_transparent.gif!
KiwiSpace Foundation is a new non-profit organisation seeking to make space accessible to New Zealanders.
[!|width=160,border=0!|Membership and Support]
Get involved, and become a Supporting Member for only *$30/year*.


[!PORTAL:SHARED IMAGES^facebook_follow_us.gif|border=0!|]


h5. Want to get involved?

We hope to do a series of launches involving schools in the future. If you're a teacher, student, sponsor or enthusiast and interested in helping out with future launches, please *[get in touch|PORTAL:Contact Us]*.



h5. Major Sponsors




h5. The Team

_Core Project Team_
Will Leizerowicz (Lead)
Alex Heffer
André Pointon

Mark Mackay
Phill King, Hamilton Amateur Radio Club

Civil Aviation Authority (many people)
MetService (many many people)
New Zealand Airways (many people)
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (US)

Amy Dreverman, MetService
Barry Were, LandSAR
Bob McDavitt, MetService
Damien Poppelwell, Excellent Software
Dave Finer, Finer Design
Greg Clark, Bigredbee
Iain Finer, Kiwi2Space
James McGregor, MetVue
Mark Conner, NSTAR
Neil Arnold, MetService
Perin Melchior, Kiteworks
Ray Thorpe, MetService
Richard Munro, NZ Aerosports
Ross Browne, LandSAR

_Support Comms_