Picard, Kirk, and Friends Journey into Space on Gigantic Balloon

Captains Kirk and Picard have officially made it into space! Aboard a high altitude balloon, that is. A few weeks ago we reported one man’s quest to kickstart a campaign to send action figures of Captains Kirk and Picard (and their friends) 100,000 feet into the upper atmosphere. Well, he’s done it with the help of a large team of friends and cameramen. Hit the jump for photos!


The Challenge
A group of about two dozen friends gathered in central Illinois and launched a gigantic latex weather balloon into the stratosphere carrying action figures of Picard, Riker, and Data aboard a model USS Enterprise-D, and Kirk, JJ Abrams, and Roberto Orci aboard the new 2009 USS Enterprise NCC 1701, plus 6 HD video cameras, assorted tracking systems, some Star Trek communicator badges, and a few extra bits and pieces.

The flight lasted about two hours, and the captains spent nearly 90 minutes in near space at a chilly -76F. The flight peaked (when the balloon popped) at about 100,000 feet high — that’s higher than 99% of our atmosphere.

The entire payload was recovered by the team after they tracked it to its touchdown location. The best part? “The Enterprise-D landed perfectly flat, as though Picard coordinated the landing himself. And fittingly representing Kirk’s more aggressive go-out-guns-blazing persona, the NCC-1701 came in nose first,” Logan Kugler said on his Kickstarter page after the flight.

The balloon just before take off, which expanded to nearly 40 feet wide at the peak of the flight!

Capt. Kirk with JJ Abrams and Roberto Orci (above) and Capt. Picard with Riker and Data (below) in (near)space!

Capt. Picards picture perfect landing

Kirk’s more gung-ho style landing

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Harry Ballz
May 22, 2012 2:14 pm

Balloon me up, Scotty!

May 22, 2012 2:26 pm

Aww, C’mon…No naked Uhura? What do these kids think of nowadays?

May 22, 2012 3:12 pm

LOL… this is awesome.

Dee - lvs moon' surface
May 22, 2012 3:21 pm

LOL… Great!… ;-) :-)

Harry Ballz
May 22, 2012 3:44 pm

For Kirk, they had to use Chris Pine’s picture. If they had used the Shat’s, the flight would have been delayed in the search for a balloon that size!

May 22, 2012 3:57 pm

Haha, Kirk looks super happy to be up in space! \o/

May 22, 2012 4:02 pm

Cool! But Jeepers H. Creepers, what is with the “Star Wars” font? “Star Wars” is owned by Lucasfilm while “Star Trek” is owned by CBS. Yet, I grew up with those two sci-fi franchises.

Red Dead Ryan
May 22, 2012 4:04 pm

Too bad they didn’t include a George Takei action figure. Takei is so full of hot air the figures and ship could have went to and landed on Mars!

May 22, 2012 4:08 pm

hate in when your doll is better looking than you:)

May 22, 2012 4:40 pm

saw your tweet and this…You having self-esteem issues?

try this…CLICK ME

May 22, 2012 4:42 pm

LOL, A Bob Orci action figure! Awesome! LOL!! Does it come with a little notebook computer?

May 22, 2012 4:52 pm

I have this mental image of Bob Orci and JJ Abrams riding those “ample nacelles” (if you’ll pardon the engineering parlance) straight down through the atmosphere ala Slim Pickens in “Dr Strangelove”…!!!

Battle-scarred Sciatica
May 22, 2012 5:06 pm

Who’s the bloke next to Picard?

He aint a real Captain.

Red Dead Ryan
May 22, 2012 5:08 pm

I have to compliment the craftsmanship on those dolls! Awesome!

May 22, 2012 5:44 pm

12: HotStove: It actually reminds me of when Steve Buscemi was riding the nuclear warhead in Armageddon.

Anyway, this is super cool. Super, super, super cool. I would love to try it someday. I always wanted to see He-Man in space.

May 22, 2012 6:28 pm


Would be nice to have an article that uses the word Kirk without the obligatory shot at Mr. Shatner.

Just saying.


May 22, 2012 7:55 pm

*GAK* (spits wine on the keyboard) Bob Orci has an ACTION FIGURE? WTF, over?

Battle-scarred Sciatica
May 22, 2012 10:47 pm

Hey, The Shat was and always be Captain Kirk.

Not this other fella.


Richard Daystrom
May 23, 2012 5:00 am

At first I thought the Abrams doll was Dan Akroyd.

May 23, 2012 5:42 am

that’s so absolutely cool! good for those kids. can’t wait to see some video.

with all due respect to j.j. and bob, spock and mccoy should have been aboard kirk’s ship. that kind of seems like a no-brainer.

May 23, 2012 6:23 am

20: OR have a third starship go up. It looks like the mobile-like thingie could have been balanced in such a way.

The Red Shirt Diaries
May 23, 2012 11:59 am

The action figure is Shatners likeness but the picture is Pine. Hmmm…trying to please all fan bases?
Kirk should have gone up with Spock and Bones on the original 1701. Why was it sent with Abrams and Orci? Using that logic Picard should have been sent up with Berman and Pillar dolls.

be flat
May 23, 2012 1:08 pm

I think I would’ve preferred the ship alone, for the sake of having an image that can actually pretend to display the real ship in actual outer space.

May 23, 2012 2:23 pm

I wish they could’ve stayed up there

Cap'n Ron
May 23, 2012 4:40 pm

Hate to be a party pooper, but I wonder if FAA approval is needed for something that’s in the Class A airspace (above 18,000 ft.) where the airliners fly? Pretty cool otherwise :o)

May 23, 2012 4:53 pm

Don’t let Pine drive the ship again!

May 24, 2012 6:13 am

So, I am curious… when the balloon popped, did the individual packages have parachutes? At terminal velocity, I would think that the models would have either disentegrated or punched a hold in the ground…

Don’t get me wrong, it’s cool… but that confuses me. Or did the individual ship packages remain connected to the camera gondola and have a mutual parachute?