Have you ever been tempted to see how far you can push an action camera? I mean they always boast of being able to do pretty ridiculous stuff like going underwater and base jumping for example. But what about sending it to the outer limits of the atmosphere? Well that’s exactly what the Insta360 team did with Canadian club New Make It when they attached an Insta360 ONE X2 camera to a helium weather balloon and sent it 100,000 feet into space!
Sometimes real stories go beyond anything we can imagine. And this one from Damn Interesting podcast certainly exceeds any fictionous photography tale one can conceive. It involves espionage, camera coffins, secret film formulas and faxing a photo of the moon.
During the cold war the US initiated a Project Genetrix a secret project executed to gather intel from the closed border USSR. Project Genetrix launched huge 200-foot-tall, 100-foot-wide helium balloons into the air around strategic locations in Europe where the wind was supposed to carry them over the USSR where they will take photos and eventually exit the USSR air space to be collected by a friendly plane, mid air and have the film sent to the US for the intelligence force to decipher. This may sound like a kids play nowadays (and it is), but back in ’56 we did not have no gopros.
Up until not long ago getting a camera to space was a pretty big deal. With time we got cheaper cameras capable of taking decent footage, we developed lots of resources on getting a weather balloon up in space. So now taking aerial footage of earth from space is not such big of a deal. Unless of course, you are taking Walter White with you.
At the peak of Walter’s 6 hours journey Walt braved speeds of 95 mph, temperatures as low as -65F, and a maximum altitude of 85,000 feet (that is almost 26km for the metric folks).