Stratospheric: Microsoft interns to launch balloon to edge of space Saturday and want you to participate

Microsoft, interns, Nimbus

Interns at Microsoft during the early stage of design work on the Nimbus project.

Their plans are lofty – 20 miles up from the Earth, reaching to the edge of space, to where a group of Microsoft interns will launch a balloon on Saturday. They’re asking the public to participate by helping to control the camera that is attached to the balloon’s payload.

David Rappaport, 21, a University of Colorado, Boulder, junior, came up with the idea when his internship with Microsoft Surface started a few months ago.

“I just thought it would be cool to have a fun side project to work on after hours,” he says, and came up with one that involves various Microsoft technologies – including Surface, Microsoft Azure, Internet Explorer and Bing apps – to create an interactive experience. Little did he realize when he first formed the idea that he’d hear from 20 of his fellow interns who would stick with the project. The balloon will launch at noon PT on Saturday, Aug. 9, from a remote area in Washington state.

The balloon’s camera will live stream video to the interns’ Nimbus website, and the idea, Rappaport says, is that people anywhere can go to the site to watch the video and even take control of the camera to have a “look around, during the flight.”

Also attached to the payload will be a beloved Xbox character, whose identity has yet to be revealed.

“What was really exciting for me was getting to work with such a large group of incredibly talented people to make this idea a reality,” says Rappaport.

The trip is expected to last up to 2-1/2 hours, but the experience will be forever.

Suzanne Choney
Microsoft News Center Staff