We launched Mission Mistletoe on 11/21 from a farm in Chirk, Wales at approximately 9:00 am EST. Our very own Ryan Downie, was a part of the launch crew. The weather conditions were windy and rainy, which complicated the launch.
It took 90 minutes for the balloon to reach peak altitude of 34.709 Km or 21.5 miles. The average speed of the ascent was 16.81 mph.
The average skydiving altitude is 12,000 feet.
The highest city in the world is La Rinconada, Peru, with an altitude of 16,830 feet.
Mt. Everest is the highest mountain in the world at 29,029 feet. It took our balloon only 22.5 minutes to reach this altitude.
A typical commercial jet cruises between 28,000 and 35,000 feet.
Jet streams are typically active at 20,000 feet to 50,000 feet above the Earth's surface and travel in what is known as the troposphere.
Chuck Yeager broke the sound barrier in the X-1 on October 14, 1947, flying at an altitude of 45,000 ft (13.7 km). 45,000 feet = 8.52 miles
Almost all weather and human activity happen below 40,000 feet (7.57 miles), which is where the troposphere (the first layer of earth's atmosphere) ends.
The stratosphere is the second major layer of Earth's atmosphere, just above the troposphere, and below the mesosphere. About 20% of the atmosphere's mass is contained in the stratosphere.
The Lockheed U-2, nicknamed "Dragon Lady", is an American single-jet engine, ultra-high-altitude reconnaissance aircraft. It cruises at an altitude of 70,000 feet and provides day and night all-weather intelligence gathering.
The Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird broke the world's record for sustained altitude in horizontal flight at 25,929 meters or 85,069 feet in 1976.
Mission Mistletoe reached a maximum altitude of 34.709 km (21.5 miles). The highest a balloon has ever flown is 53 km - a joint effort by NASA and JAXA.
As weather balloons travel farther from the Earth's surface, the air pressure around the balloon decreases drastically. As the air gets thinner, the gas inside expands, causing the balloon to pop.
Mission Mistletoe fell 21.5 miles in just 40 minutes.
Mission Mistletoe landed on 11/21 at 10:25 am EST near Woodall Spa, Lincolnshire, 123 miles away from the launch site.
When we got together to brainstorm our annual holiday card, we reflected on the tumultuous times in which we live. It seems that our world has never been more divided. We knew we wanted to send an inspiring message to all - a message of peace and love. So we asked ourselves, "What if we could put everyone, literally the entire Earth, under a mistletoe to encourage just a little more love in the world?"
We fell in love with the idea and set out do just that. Read the full blog entry below about how "Mission Mistletoe" achieved liftoff.
We knew we had a great creative idea for our holiday card. But no one on the team had ever done anything like this before. A space mission was uncharted territory.
Undaunted by the unknown, we began asking ourselves questions like, "Is sending a weather balloon into space even legal?" As it turns out, the answer is "no." The Federal Aviation Administration regulates this sort of activity in the U.S. If you're NASA, it's all systems go. If your name is Joe Blow, you're looking at a stiff fine and the possibility of time behind bars. But that didn't stop us.
Our research uncovered the fact that it's completely legit in parts of the United Kingdom. And because XenoPsi is an international company with employees around the globe, we even had teammates based in the U.K. who could easily participate. Our very own Ryan Downie made the trek to a dairy farm in a remote corner of Wales on November 21st, 2017 to join the Mission Mistletoe Launch Crew.
Once there, Ryan joined a team of experts to deploy a high altitude weather balloon tethered to a GoPro camera and a sprig of mistletoe. Like any high stakes mission, ours was fraught with anticipation and a bit of anxiety. Would the famously fickle English weather force us to abort? Could mistletoe survive the fierce stratospheric winds? Would our pristine white ribbon get soiled by cow pies? We're happy to report that our mission of spreading a little holiday cheer with peace, love and mistletoe for all was a stirring success.
XenoPsi's "Mission Mistletoe" was a huge success and was picked up in the trades. Below are a few highlights: