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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