The wind pattern on launch day allowed for some impressive (lucky) aerial shots of Las Vegas, Henderson, Boulder City, Lake Meade, portions of highway 93 / historic route 66, the Peach Springs Hualapai Indian reservation, and even parts of the Grand Canyon!
Among the highlights are pictures of the Las Vegas strip, Hoover Dam (along with the new 93 bypass bridge and the lake), a communications satellite, jet contrails from above, and a meteor crater in Arizona.
SPOT GPS was used opposed to the GPS cell phone / instamapper combination in other launches due to the lack of cell phone coverage in these remote parts of Arizona. Had we used my i425 instead, the craft would still be lost, for it landed in one of these areas without cell access.
We were able to track the balloon up to roughly 60,000 feet – the maximum altitude that SPOT GPS will function. We later concluded based on the velocity, the pictures, and flight patterns of similar balloons such as the MIT Icarus launch, that the Viking I reached a maximum altitude of ~95,000 feet!
For the purpose of sharing I applied enhancement to the images posted on this page so that they can be used as wallpapers. The raw files are available to download here as well.
Download (.torrent) – Full project media of images from the camera as well as a high quality time lapse video.
Photo enhancements courtesy of Bob Sokalski.