Spacecraft or Ballooncraft?

We have been calling our Loki Lego Launcher a spacecraft, but it’s technically not a real spacecraft, since it hasn’t quite made it into space yet.  There is a line that is generally considered to be the dividing line between the earth’s atmosphere and space called the Karman Line, which is 100 kilometers above the surface of the Earth.  We only made it up to 23.8 kilometers (78,000 feet).

Some people have said that the Loki Lego Launcher made it to nearspace, but we’re not really sure what distance that is.  The engineers at NASA JPL said that we were strato-balloonists and stratospheric explorers, and we guess that part is true, since we made it out of the troposphere, past the tropopause, into the stratosphere.

Our Pressure vs Time data shows that the atmospheric pressure got really close to zero near the top of our craft’s ascent.  That means the atmosphere is super thin up there; we wouldn’t be able to breathe.  But apparently that doesn’t quite qualify as space either.

The scientists at Johns Hopkins APL call their vehicle a ballooncraft, which makes sense because they have a gigantic balloon attached to it.  The Loki Lego Launcher probably qualifies to be called a ballooncraft too.

However, we like the sound of spacecraft a little bit better.  So, with apologies to those who object, we’re going to call the Loki Lego Launcher our spacecraft. 🙂


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