FLIS 1 HAS BEEN FOUND!

Nearly five months after our first launch on July 10, 2013, the capsule has been found! We’re still awaiting full details, but the capsule was found near Troy, NC, which is about half way between Durham and Charlotte.

Here are the first pictures we have been able to retrieve from the on-board camera.

UPDATE: 12/17

On December 3, 2013, First Library in Space Tech Lead Rodney Radford received a cryptic phone call. “I found your package; call me back,” said a voice he didn’t recognize, and then the caller hung up. At first, Rodney thought it was a prank call or perhaps a telemarketer, but he decided to call back anyway, and we were lucky he did.

The call came from a couple from Troy, NC, who it turned out had stumbled across the library’s payload while checking on a downed tree on their property near the Uwharrie National Forest. The couple, who both have aeronautical backgrounds, were intrigued by the computerized payload that had obviously parachuted to earth, and were very willing to meet with us to return the capsule so that they could find out just what it was.

On December 4, Rodney and North Regional’s Casey Nees drove to Troy, NC to retrieve the payload and meet the couple, who had numerous questions – especially after they saw the First Library in Space website. We were just as excited to not only retrieve the computer and camera portions of the rig, but also a set of stickers and patches that rode into near space with the balloon.

We Got It!

flis01 First Library in Space-2 was a success!!!

A teaser photo from today’s launch into space.

We achieved 98,000 feet and recovered the capsule intact.

Casey Nees, Children’s Librarian at North Regional Library, along with the NCNS research crew deserve a special shout out for their dedication and all around coolness. A special thanks to technical wizard and build master Rodney Radford.

Now on to downloading photos and video. Look for it here soon.

Plans are Set for Second Launch Attempt

An update on FLIS-2 from Mission Control:

We were looking at at a Raleigh launch in the interest of avoiding a water landing, but our current model is showing a good chance to avoid Kerr Lake. With that in mind, we are going to launch from the North Regional Library parking lot at or near 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, July 27. The balloon should travel around 25km and will end up near the state line. It will be a long flight and long recovery.

So, there you have it. FLIS-2 is GO for Saturday, July 27. We hope to see a bunch of you at North Regional Library for the launch.

Updates will be posted here and on our Twitter feed.

Durham County Library Will be the First Library in Space

Update: July 11, 2013

Spaceflight is a tricky business. After a successful launch, we lost all data at about the 60,000 foot mark and have had no communication from the capsule since then. At this point, the capsule and its payload are lost. However, NC Near Space Research, who helped us put everything together, has had lost capsules reappear up to year after launch when someone found it and called the phone number in the capsule. So all hope is not lost.

We did manage to have a very grainy live video feed up to 60,000 feet that proves we made it that far. The images (recorded on a VHS tape) are sadly not good enough to post any type of imagery.

We will update with more information as we have it.


On July 10, before the Durham Bulls game at Durham Bulls Athletic Park, Durham County Library will launch a capsule filled with library items into near space from center field. We will launch at 6:30 p.m., about 35 minutes before the first pitch.

Using a weather balloon, the capsule will rise to 70,000 – 100,000 feet — high enough to see the blackness of space and the curvature of the earth. We’ll have cameras on-board to take photos and video that we will post after we recover the capsule.

This page is mission control for the flight and will provide you with real-time GPS tracking data that will include the latitude, longitude, altitude, and on-board temperature of the capsule. Our live @DurhamCountyLib Twitter feed is also provided that will show all DCL Tweets using the #flis hashtag. We’ll be posting updates throughout the evening as we follow the countdown, launch, flight and recovery of our capsule.


Note: The position of the capsule on the map will be updated to reflect current data when the GPS is activated between 6 and 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, July 10.

You’ll want to check back here after the mission as well to see how far and high the capsule traveled and to view the photos and video.