Proposing is a weird tradition, steeped in sentimentality and ridiculous social protocols. As some of those archaic rules have decayed, the suggestion that you do something memorable has grown into a demand. One way to make your proposal unforgettable is do it from the edge of space.
Alberta, Canada’s Shawn Wright pulled this off in October. He launched an engagement ring beyond the stratosphere using a high-altitude weather balloon and filmed the extravaganza like a true bleeding-heart-romantic.
Here’s the lovey-dovey-spaceflight video, uploaded to YouTube today:
Wright tells Inverse his aircraft consisted of an “on-board flight computer that told me data on wind speed, air pressure, altitude, longitude and latitude.”
All that equipment was “mounted to a wood frame connected to a parachute and that was connected to a high altitude weather balloon.”
Wright also said that, unsurprisingly, his rig wound up miles away from the launch site, because, well, the atmosphere had other plans: “It [the balloon] reached 110,000 feet, but sitting in the stratosphere, the balloon burst when it expanded 5 times its size. After that, it fell for a bit before the parachute opened. It came back down on a farmer’s field about 300 kilometers [186 miles] away.”
As proclamations of love go, Wright’s feat should win him some plaudits. But launching a high-altitude weather ballon into a suborbital realm isn’t quite that hard. All one needs is enough velocity behind their balloon to break out of earth’s gravitational pull — and this can be achieved using Wright’s equipment, or even a variety of other retail kits sold on the market.