Our products, being robust, accurate and good value lend themselves to being used in interesting ways. We are always amazed what some of our customers do with them, but this particular example is one of our favourites.
Late last year we received an email enquiry asking whether our Tempo Environment Monitor could be used to measure altitude and what its environment limits were. It’s not an unusual request, and as Tempo Environment Monitor measures barometric pressure, it can do just that. A series of email exchanges ensued where we learnt it was for a science project that two families in Utah were planning for their children to see how high a high altitude balloon would get. Of course the biggest issue we could see was that if it gets too cold at a certain point Tempo would cease to function. Tempo is rated for -25 Celsius / -13 Fahrenheit. Armed with our instructions on how to insulate Tempo best they could to reduce this risk as much as possible on 8 November 2014 a Tempo was launched into space.
You can see a cute video of the whole project to launch the weather balloon into space. You can see reference to Tempo turning itself back on at -47 Celsius / -53 Fahrenheit 4:48 minutes into the video after it had apparently stopped working at about the same time as the iPhone 6 stopped working, at -60 Celsius / -75 Fahrenheit.
It was through the sheer dedication of the two families that they tracked the balloon from Utah across to Nevada on a 1,000 mile round trip odyssey. From their smartphone they were able to extract some interesting metrics from Tempo about the balloon’s rise and fall:
1. The total height the balloon reached was 105,000 feet / 32,000 meters or about 12 miles / 32 km. This height is well in excess of the definition of near space of 65,000 feet / 20 km, but somewhat short of the definition of outer space, which is based on the Kármán line of 62 miles / 100 km.
2. At 11.51pm the balloon, which had now expanded to the size of a double garage, burst and started falling to earth. Tempo recorded the total time to earth was 27 minutes and it taken 8 hours to reach its maximum altitude.
We were somewhat amazed that Tempo was operating well at so low temperatures, and that having stopped working at one point it rebooted and continued recording at -47 Celsius / -52 Fahrenheit! As the data logged and timestamped values were in its on-board flash memory, the data was safe even though Tempo had stopped working at one point.
We will share some other use cases of our devices with you, but this is probably the most ambitious and fun we have come across to date.
Blue Maestro Team