This was definitely an interesting experience. I would like to thank everything that visited the page and expressed their interest through comments and "likes" on FaceBook. I am going to try this via alternate means so it is time to close down the page.
Based on some of the comments at Hodinkee, I would like to throw out the possibility of working with an individual to send up their Speedmaster or perhaps a jeweler that would be willing to send up a store demo or something similar. Please let me know if either of these scenarios would interest you.
Good morning! Following the recent post on Hodinkee (awesome!), I am hoping that we will have some interest here. I am happy to answer any questions and talk watch, space, tech, etc. Thank you again for your support. I had tried to create a new "event" type FaceBook page for this but that didn't seem to mesh with GoFundMe. I am attempting to link this over to my established, personal page in the next couple of days. Have a wonderful weekend.
What is GoFundMe?Fundraising made easy >>
With your help and support,
I will send an iconic wristwatch, the Omega Speedmaster Professional chronograph,
via high-altitude balloon, to the stratosphere. Sounds simple enough, right? The
devil is in the details and there are A LOT of details, but truthfully, that's
half the fun. When this is all over, I hope that I will have not only
successfully sent an Omega Speedmaster to near space, but have also sparked a
scientific curiosity in those that have followed the project.
I grew up wanting to be an
astronaut hurtling through space towards the moon or some other distant
celestial object. Over time interests change, and unfortunately we can't all be
astronauts. For me, I graduated from college with a Political Science degree
and loved nearly every minute of it. I greatly enjoyed my time studying
international relations, which ultimately led to an incredible job with the US
Government. Despite my chosen career path, I have always maintained a strong
interest in the sciences and on occasion, wish that I had pursued a degree in
engineering or physics. I periodically follow news stories about the
International Space Station and the daily wanderings of the mars rover-I am awe
struck by the recent mars rover photograph of Earth as the little blue spot in
the Martian night sky.
I have wanted to send a
camera into the stratosphere for quite some time now. The addition of an Omega
Speedmaster was a more recent change, but one that I feel is very fitting. Watch
and space aficionados reading this will undoubtedly know why I have chosen a
Speedmaster. The Omega Speedmaster, also known as "the moon watch",
was selected by NASA in the early days of the space program. It is the watch
that was worn by Apollo astronauts on the surface of the moon and was a
critical part of helping the Apollo 13 astronauts return home after their
spacecraft's catastrophic explosion. As mentioned earlier, the Speedmaster is a
chronograph, which essentially means that it is capable of tracking elapsed
seconds, minutes and hours. It is the only watch qualified by NASA for
extravehicular activity (EVA). Essentially, anytime the astronauts needed to go
outside, they had a hand-wound mechanical watch strapped to their wrists
totally exposed to the rigors of space.
This project isn't going to
be anything new for the Speedmaster, but I like the idea of subjecting
something without a battery to the rigors of extreme temperature and pressure
change in a world of increasingly power hungry devices. In my mind, mechanical
watches have a bit more soul than the clock on my iPhone. In the early days of
the US space program, NASA subjected the Speedmaster to a battery of tests to ensure
that the watch could operate in the extremes of space. No matter what NASA
threw at it, the Speedmaster just kept on ticking. In a space environment,
there can be a four hundred degree temperature difference between light and
dark and the Speedmaster handled it all in stride. Since this is a chronograph after all, I plan to start the timer at launch and the entire
flight will be recorded with GoPro cameras. In the end, we will have footage
documenting flight time from launch to landing.
With your help and support, I
will purchase an Omega Speedmaster and all of the necessary equipment to make
this project possible. As the Speedmaster will be a large chunk of the fundraising
goal, I would like to work with an authorized Omega dealer to procure a
Speedmaster at a reduced cost, in exchange for advertising exposure. If I'm
able to purchase a Speedmaster at a reduced rate, I will adjust the fundraising
In addition to the
Speedmaster, I will require the use of two GoPro cameras, a Spot Trace, flight
computer, weather balloon, parachute, radar reflector, a canister of helium,
and a variety of odds-and-ends. One GoPro will record HD video of the flight with
a clear view of the Speedmaster, and the other will snap high-resolution photos
capturing the curvature of the earth and other awe-inspiring images from
100,000 feet. The Spot Trace provides location data via satellite link and will
aid in recovery. Accurate location data is critical, as the jet stream could
carry the payload up to sixty miles from the launch site.
In the event that the money
raised exceeds total project costs, I will donate any excess to STEM Washington,
a science, technology, engineering and math organization that works to promote
innovation, excellence and equity in STEM education.