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.

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