For a seventh-grade science project, 12-year-old Lauren Rojas reached for the stars—literally. Lauren sent a silver rocket bearing Hello Kitty and a pink breast cancer awareness ribbon high up into the Earth’s atmosphere. After the mission’s successful completion, she analyzed the effects of altitude on air pressure and temperature and will present her findings on Feb. 12 at her school’s science fair.
In honor of Lauren’s space-faring Hello Kitty, we found the most spectacular homemade stratosphere flights captured on film, featuring more toys that want to have high-altitude fun and stunning views of Earth from near space.
Want to send your own weather balloon into the atmosphere? See how these science-loving experimenters did it, put together your own high-altitude flight, and send us your videos.
A Space-Bound Hello Kitty Science Project
For her seventh-grade science project, 12-year-old Lauren Rojas of Antioch, CA, sent a Hello Kitty doll, which her father brought back from a business trip to Japan, in a silver rocket ship to the Earth’s stratosphere.
The Little Tank Engine That Could
Wanting to give his son an unforgettable adventure, filmmaker Ron Fugelseth sent his favorite toy, the never-leaves-the-boy’s-side Stanley train, to the edge of space and back. This sweet video has the best storytelling we’ve seen yet from a space video, capturing the spirit of a little silver tank engine that could.
An Upward-Bound Leg Lamp
The real star of A Christmas Story, despite its precarious and awkward size, reached 60,000 feet. We love the video’s 30-second production time lapse before the flight begins.
Toy Robots Just Want to Have Fun
A toy robot took a two-and-a-half-hour trip to near space and captured some incredible video selfies along the way. The robot reached 95,000 feet and brought back smooth and stable footage from the flight.
A Spectacular Water Landing
As a part of the Geoforum GPS convention, the Brooklyn Space Program sent this device into the upper stratosphere, and it ascended for over 92 minutes before falling back to Earth. This is the first video we’ve seen with a successful splashdown (just like real space capsules!) and safe recovery.
Sunrise From the Stratosphere
Two cameras flew to 110,000 feet at the crack of dawn and caught a stunning sweeping sunrise as a full moon set on the horizon.
The California Coast From Up Above
Launched near Davenport, CA, this balloon took clear, beautiful footage of its ascent, offering spectacular views of the California coast. During its flight, the balloon also carried GPS, pressure, accelerometer, and temperature devices.
A Step-by-Step Guide to Homemade Spacecrafts
It took eight months of research and testing by a father-son team to successfully send this homemade spacecraft up into the atmosphere. The video details their journey, from building to testing to final execution, with text captions describing altitude and wind speeds along the way.
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