Lake Tahoe Launch … Messy and Worth It – The Short Version

So after last week’s debacle … we learned to be patient and wait for better wind conditions. Here’s the short version of what happened. We inflated on the beach at DL Bliss State Park:


Paddle boarded the balloon out where the clear water of Lake Tahoe was about 45 feet deep:


With a snorkeler for help (he also shot some great video with a GoPro I’ll share another time):


Next we launched with 2 GoPro cameras 40 feet deep in the lake at the end of a line and 4 more on other payloads:


Here are some of the views we got:

For size reference: Lake Tahoe is almost 22 miles long and a bit more than 11 miles wide. (35 km long X 19 km wide). The lake is 1645 feet deep (501 meters).

Lake Tahoe, Carson City, Nevada, Reno and Pyramid Lake from 90,000 feet + (near space)


Then the balloon burst somewhere between 95,000 and 100,000 feet – follow the link to see the frame by frame of the burst:

And the video:



Then it landed and we went and got it:

There was some animal byproduct to deal with:

It was a great day!

Here is a link to more photos.

NOTE: This launch was part of a project being developed by the University of Nevada, Reno- Mechanical Engineering Department, the 21st Century Division of the Washoe County School District, and Nevada’s Northwest Regional Professional Development Program (who I work for now). We were trying out some technologies and possible engineering and science problems to turn over to area K-12 students to solve for a similar launch next April or May – still in the planning stages.

Learning is messy!

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3 thoughts on “Lake Tahoe Launch … Messy and Worth It – The Short Version

  1. Great project! Are you using APRS for tracking the balloon? If not, I may be able to help you.

    BRIAN – Jim – We have used APRS in the past (and may in the future) – we were trying a new technology but a battery and its backup failed. Used Spots as a backup and that worked flawlessly – so we found the balloon easily. :)