Update: A new YouTube video, below, captures the preparation and launch of Loki Lego Launcher 2.0. The girls have also update their blog with a mission debrief post, which discusses data from the onboard solar experiment as well as lessons learned.
Rebecca and Kimberly Yeung reached exciting new heights in their budding science careers on Saturday when they launched their second balloon-borne craft into the stratosphere over central Washington.
Loki Lego Launcher 2.0 reached 101,325 feet, and in a dramatic image that the girls shared with GeekWire, their onboard pals Loki the cat and the Star Wars Lego character Rey are seen against a breathtaking backdrop.
Rebecca, 11, and Kimberly 9, met or exceeded the top three goals on their pre-flight checklist. They had hoped to reach a height of 90,200 feet as well as see the curvature of the earth in footage captured by a camera on board. The girls also wanted the launch and descent to be completed in less than four hours.
The Seattle elementary school girls offered a play by play of the mission on their blog on Saturday, starting with a post by their dad, Winston, at 7:15 a.m., in which he wrote, “Both Launch Directors still sleeping, hmm.”
By 8:47 a.m. the girls were awake and checking the weather to confirm that the launch was a go and they were on their way to the launch site.
At 10:20 a.m. the craft’s helium balloon was inflated and at 10:34 the blog announced “LIFTOFF!!”
At 1:41 p.m. they reported that the craft was on its way down after exceeding 100,000 feet. The family was northeast of Ritzville, Wash., as the “super giddy group of stratospheric explorers” looked to retrieve their craft and its data.
After walking through a field of tall grass, the Loki blog showed an image of Rebecca, in a Jet Propulsion Laboratory T-shirt, and Kimberly, in a Blue Origin T-shirt, holding up Loki Lego Launcher 2.0 under the blue skies out of which it had just descended.
“We are now going for a cold ice cream,” the blog concluded, adding that data analysis — including what they learned from their onboard solar panel and sensors — was still to come.