"Pumpkins in Space!" was filmed at the end of September, 2013. "Patches", our specially selected Irish grown pumpkin was designed by Total Produce's Fruit Sculptor in-Chief, Sandeep Pandey. This short film chronicles the extraordinary voyage of one young boy and his humble Halloween pumpkin.
The launch required 3.5 cubic metres of Helium in a 1600gm balloon, attached to a holding platform for Patches and a mounted camera to record the journey. The overall weight of the payload was 2300gm. A central pole was attached to the balloon. The camera was subsequently attached to the protruding arm and below hung the tracking and recovery devices in a protective case. A 5 foot parachute was positioned between the payload and the balloon. It deployed as soon as the balloon burst to cushion Patches fall.
On release, he accelerated some 5 metres a second. He would ultimately travel some 30-32km into the stratosphere, encountering temperatures as low as -20. As the balloon rises, it expands until, at approximately 30km it bursts and the descent to Earth begins. This was tracked all the way by a GPS chip embedded in the platform. Descent takes considerably less time than ascent, lasting just 30 minutes.