Video Camera on Model Rocket

June 5, 2011

I work at Tasty Labs and our CEO Joshua Schachter bought a bunch of key chain cameras and gave them out to us, for fun. They weigh 15 grams and look like this:

They take video with audio at standard resolution. I attached mine to six helium balloons I got at Safeway and sent it up with 100 feet of kite rope to bring it back down. It's always windy in San Francisco, so the results were just a blurry mess.

I then went to my local hobby store and bought by first model rocket, an entry-level Estes Flash rocket set ($24) and the most powerful engine you can use on it, a C6-7 engine ($3).

I duct-taped the camera half-way up the rocket so as to not throw off the center of gravity too much:

It was a slightly windy day, so I biased the launch guide a bit against the wind. This was a mistake, since it sent the rocket off the field and into a neighbor's tree. It took half an hour of poking with bamboo stalks to get it down:

Here is the video it captured:

The next day I launched it again, this time with the camera facing sideways. I don't think that's as interesting as facing downward. The rocket got stuck high up in a tree again and my wife Jennifer had to climb up to get it:

The cameras cost about $7 (including shipping) on eBay. Search for “key chain camera”. They're super fun and easy to use. Read the comprehensive 808 Car Keys Micro Camera Review page if you're not sure which to get. (I have a #3 type.)

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