We sent my son's favorite train "Stanley" to space in a weather balloon with a HD camera and an old cell phone for GPS. He was recovered 27 miles away in a corn field and we got some great footage of the trip. This video documents the journey from liftoff to landing.
My 4 year old and Stanley are inseparable like Calvin and Hobbes. He's been attached to him since he was two, and they play, sleep and do everything together. I animated Stanley's face with After Effects and Photoshop to bring him to life how I imagine my son sees him.
This is way too cool.
Another interesting note, is that I didn't know you had to call the FAA to make sure there are no planes around:
Quick note on safety
I'm getting so many comments regarding safety that I think I should write a quick note to let everyone know of the precautions I took beforelaunching Stanley into the sky.
First off, I called the FAA 15 minutes before launch (per their instructions) so they could make sure no planes fly into the flight path.
Second, the box was only 2 pounds and made of foam core, with a wooden dowel to hold Stanley in front of the camera.
I spent two months monitoring the winds with this website http://weather.uwyo.edu/polar/balloon_traj.html to pinpoint the general area that he would land. For safely, I launched him from a location that I knew would bring him down into farm land. The prediction website was only 5-10 miles off, so he landed safely in a corn field, far away from any towns.
I didn't want Stanley to be a murderer. Plus I wanted to make sure my son got Stanley back. :)