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Kalamazoo father and daughter launching camera into space

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - A dad and daughter from Kalamazoo are preparing to launch a camera into space!

Mark and Katherine Gilbert have been working on the out-of-this-world project for nearly two years, hoping to take photos of earth from a capsule they created.

The pair designed their own instrument pack, built it from the ground up and earned HAM radio technician licenses to make this long-anticipated launch possible.

The Gilberts will attach their capsule to a six-foot diameter weather balloon, which will rise through different layers of the atmosphere.

They rigged the capsule with sensors to measure changes in temperature and pressure.

The on-board camera will snap photos of the Earth until the balloon hits 90,000 feet.

At that point, they say the balloon will burst and the parachute will open, bringing the entire pack safely back down to Earth.

The pack is complete with a GPS, so the Gilberts can track the balloon's progress, and Katherine's favorite toy, just for fun.

"The My Little Pony is actually named Rainbow Dash," explains 11-year-old Katherine. "Rainbow Dash in the TV show loves to fly, she flies everywhere, she flies fast, she does tricks, so I'm like okay we've got to send her up into space!"

Just in case they Gilberts lose track of the pack on its journey, they have included a 50-dollar reward for anyone who finds it and returns it.

They say it's all worth it.

"It's been an incredible learning experience along the way because we've never done this before," says Katherine's dad Mark. "This touches on every piece of STEM: Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. This is really the culmination of a lot of different fields and different areas."

The launch was planned for Tuesday morning but due to weather has been postponed.

The new launch time is 9:30am Wednesday from Mendon High School's athletic fields.

The Gilberts predict the pack will land about 12 miles southeast of there.

Stick with Newschannel 3 for an update to this story. We hope to share the Gilberts' awesome Earth photos once the launch is complete.

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