Houston, or should it be Huddersfield, we have a problem - one of my space balloons is missing
By Elaine King A SPACE enthusiast who has confounded the NASA space agency with wonderful aerial photos taken by a digital camera attached to a helium weather balloon has lost one of his photography units over Fenland. Robert Harrison – who builds his He
By Elaine King
A SPACE enthusiast who has confounded the NASA space agency with wonderful aerial photos taken by a digital camera attached to a helium weather balloon has lost one of his photography units over Fenland.
Robert Harrison - who builds his Heath Robinson style units using a polystyrene box and duct tape that can take photos 22 miles up - is convinced that the box containing a Canon camera and its orange parachute has hit the ground near Manea.
"Normally I use GPS to track the unit as it descends, but this time the power from the AA batteries was lost, so I was unable to find it," said 38-year-old Robert.
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"I would be very grateful to hear from anyone who finds the unit, which includes a camera in a silver coloured box, a GPS tracking device, the remains of the white latex helium balloon, and the parachute.
"Usually the balloon takes around three hours to reach maximum height, it gets bigger as the air pressure reduces, and then bursts and falls to the ground.
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"My gut feeling is that a farmer may have already picked it up, but did not know what it was.
"Normally I get the GPS location from a unit after it has landed, accurate to within a metre, so it is easy to retrieve it."
Robert launched his photography unit in Cambridge, after receiving permission from the Civil Aviation Authority, and air traffic control give clearance.
"The Met office put up around 100 of these balloons a day to track the weather," he said.
Robert, from Huddersfield is an IT director, and has launched 12 high altitude balloons as part of his Icarus project since 2008.
The photographs he takes are so impressive that NASA got in touch, asking how he managed to create the images, which would have cost the space agency millions of dollars.
Anyone who finds the unit is asked to contact Robert via his website, on www.robertharrison.org/icarus