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Rhino Slider Drops from Space (Stratos)

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Published on Sep 4, 2012

Order the Rhino Slider here: http://bit.ly/13l60Um

When we set out to test the durability of the Rhino Slider, one of our best selling camera products, we couldn't think of a better way to test it than to drop it from space.

Using a 1500 gram weather balloon filled with 197 cu ft. of hydrogen we launched the Rhino Slider into near space. Please don't try it at home.

Three GoPro HERO2 cameras were used to film the entire flight. Two of them cut out at around 30min and thankfully one stayed on until we found the slider in the middle of a field, still recording all of the action.

Our main GPS tracking beacon was housed in bubble wrap and styrofoam to protect it from the cold and the impact of the landing. We lost communication with it 20 minutes into the flight and were left with our backup GPS system, the SPOT satellite messenger.

After we launched the Rhino Slider we drove an hour away to a small town we knew had cell phone reception. After running flight simulations with current weather data we predicted it would land just outside of town. About 2 hours after the launch we received our first GPS coordinates back from the SPOT messenger: it was less than 2 miles from our location!

It took about 30 minutes to spot it up on a ridge line. SPOILER ALERT: It appeared to have landed on a small rock which broke one of the carbon fiber rods in two. Three of the six plastic rollers shattered from the impact. Everything else was intact.

The take away: This wasn't only a publicity stunt, we learned a lot about the potential weaknesses of our product and will be making the production model even more durable. The rails in our prototype were constructed using a roll-wrap method. We'll be making changing to a braided carbon fiber that is much stronger. Also, we'll be using a less brittle material for the roller wheels.

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