This video claims to be the first hi-def amateur video from the edge of space. It was created using a helium balloon, a styrofoam box and a video camera. The sky is black at 100,000 feet:
The web site explains:
The balloon and camera were launched at 7:44 AM, the balloon burst at 10:51 AM at 107,145 ft. and the camera landed via parachute at 11:40 AM, 89 miles from the launch site after a 3 hr. & 56 min. flight. The camera recorded a total of 4 hrs. & 22 min. of Hi-Def Video before it stopped recording 53 secs after landing, when its 32GB of memory was full.
Since the box containing the camera traveled 89 miles during the flight, the obvious question would be “how did they find the box once it landed”? It appears that they used the Automatic Packet Reporting System.
Would you like to create your own balloon and send it to the edge of space? According to this web site, you can do it for $150:
We are a group of MIT students seeking to share the artistic aspects of science with others. On Sept. 2, 2009, we launched a digital camera into near-space to take photographs of the earth from high up above.
Several groups have accomplished similar feats (see “Other Launches”), but as far we know, we are the first group ever to:
(1) Complete such a launch on a budget of $150 total. All of our supplies (including camera, GPS tracking, weather balloon, and helium) were purchased for less than a grand total of $150.
(2) Create a launch vehicle without the use of any electronic hacking. We used off-the-shelf items exclusively (i.e., no electronic chips or soldering) to create our launch vehicle.
Here is the video (made from still images) of their flight: