Weather balloon camera footage showcases Alaska at nearly 100,000 feet

Photo of the Tanana River from an altitude of 93,131 feet / Photo courtesy by Night Crew Labs

(App users, to view the Alaska: Above the Last Frontier video, click here).

Strapped to a weather balloon, Night Crew Lab (NCL) sends a camera payload upward 93,131 feet, into the Arctic stratosphere ozone layer. That’s approximately three times the cruising altitude of typical, commercial jets.

The California-based team arrived in Fairbanks on March 17, and the project spanned over the last couple weeks of the month, according to Bryan Chan, co-founder and president of NCL.

At 10 a.m., on launch day, NCL setup their equipment, about 10 miles west of Fairbanks. And one hour later, their weather balloon, GoPro, virtual reality fisheye camera and camera phone were all airborne.

The weather balloon and bundle traveled eastward, along the frozen Tanana River.

"It took a little over an hour to get to the peak. And once it hit 93,000 feet or so, the balloon eventually burst and fell down," said Chan. "It landed just north of North Pole, Alaska."

Chan said the whole flight took about two hours.

"The whole purpose behind Night Crew Labs was really to explore new perspectives, in which we capture the natural beauty of Earth," said Chan. "We decided to go to Alaska because… Alaska is a beautiful landscape with so much wilderness. We thought it would be really great to capture, especially with the snow on the ground."

Chan said the team plans to release their next weather balloon video, of Alaska’s Aurora Borealis, in late-April or early-May.

(Profile of Bryan Chan / Photo courtesy by Bryan Chan.)

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