Artist and Instructor
GIBAS I Captain's Logs
Tuesday, October 27, 2015
This morning in the cold and rain, my launch crew and I assembled on top of Radar Hill in Athens, Ohio to launch the Gibas I. We stood shivering and wet as we established launch parameters and prepared the aircraft for its ascent. We inflated the balloon and attached the small payload containing a camera and GPS tracking device.
Our goal is to breech the stratosphere, gathering video footage of the edge of space, and to achieve a sense of shared humanity through our interactions with the universe. Once released, we looked on together with awe and hope as the Gibas I quickly ascended out of view, and our gazes shifted to the red dot on the map sent by the GPS device.
By the time we were ready to leave Radar Hill, we could already see through the GPS that the craft was flying over our neighboring town of Nelsonville. Anticipation was already building- How far would it go? Where would it land? And then- silence.
Communications had been cut off. For hours I paced the floors of ground control, nervously refreshing the internet browser containing the map, my only connection to the whereabouts of the Gibas I. I have tried to distract myself, but my anxieties have surely been transparent to my crew.
But finally, after some 6 hours of restless concern, connections have been reestablished. The Gibas I has landed over 100 miles away, in Washington, Pennsylvania. It will be dark soon, so we will make our move toward Washington in the morning.