Last month, history’s most significant space launch took place. Or, at least it was the most significant to one little boy.
The launch wasn’t an exploration of Mars. It wasn’t a mission to the International Space Station. And it wasn’t the trial run of some new rocket. Instead, it was a father son project to send the son’s favorite toy — a wooden Stanley locomotive from the Thomas & Friends television series — into outer space.
The father, Ron Fugelseth, works as a producer in Santa Cruz, California and had previously made a video of his son’s extreme attachment to his toy Stanley. So it seemed natural to document Stanley’s space voyage too.
Check out the YouTube video story of the father who sent his son’s favorite toy train to space below.
For you parents who have been inspired to — or guilted into — trying something similar with your child, fairly extensive instructions can be found online. Fugelseth used particularly basic gear, much of which can be found on Amazon.com at relatively modest prices. The major items he used:
• 600g weather balloon
• Motorola i290 cell phone with Boost Mobile prepaid service (though any lightweight phone with GPS will work)
• Kodak zi6 video camera (did surprisingly well for being only 720p)
• 3-foot parachute
• Foam core box
• Home made radar reflector
• Micro beacon for model rockets.
• Hand warmers to keep the batteries from freezing
If you are launching from the United States, note that you’ll have to follow the guidelines from the FCC and FAA (which ensured that airplanes were not in danger of hitting the balloon). We imagine other countries have similar agencies to deal with.
And if you are wondering how the father could put his son’s favorite toy at risk of never been seen again, rest assured that the toy train had been lost several times before. The father had a backup Stanley ready, just in case.