'Star Trek' model ship launched into stratosphere, crash lands north of Toronto
Published Thursday, May 16, 2013 10:38AM EDT
Forget James T. Kirk and Jean-Luc Picard. There’s a new U.S.S. Enterprise captain on the cosmic block.
Canadian Steve Schnier launched a miniature model of the famed Star Trek flagship into the stratosphere at the end of April, and posted a video of the mission on YouTube.
While he didn't exactly go "where no man has gone before," he did experience a crash worthy of an action scene in this summer's Star Trek Into Darkness.
In an interview with CTV’s Canada AM Thursday, Schnier said the homemade rig bearing the miniature starship reached an altitude of 30 kilometres before crashing back down to Earth.
“We lost our engines,” Schnier said, explaining how he lost control of his ship.
The U.S.S. Enterprise model – and the attached GPS transponder, flight computer to measure the ship’s velocity and altitude, as well as two cameras capturing the action – deployed a parachute as it tumbled through the stratosphere.
“It wasn’t a smooth ride,” Schnier said of the ship’s descent after being carried to the edge of space by a weather balloon. “It was moving, at one point, at 117 kilometres an hour.”
Schnier predicted the ship would land somewhere between Innisfil and Stouffville, Ont.. It actually went way off course, crash landing near an island in Georgian Bay.
Using GPS coordinates from the crashed ship’s computer, Schnier set up a rescue operation with a nearby marina, who handily fished the crashed ship out of the water for him.
In addition to GPS, the ship also makes a loud buzzing sound to aid recovery operations, Schnier said.
Funnily enough, when he went to pick up his ship at the marina two days after it was retrieved from the water, “the siren was still (going),” he said. “They didn’t unplug it.”
Schnier was very careful not to explore one strange new world on his trek: the United States. Before his final frontier, he was warned not to let his ship cross the border or else he’d face the wrath of U.S. Homeland Security.
“We were extremely careful in dealing with that,” he said, adding that he contacted the Ontario Ministry of Transportation. “It can be a very dangerous thing to do, so we took every reasonable precaution there was.”
The ship took about three hours to go up and just one hour to come back down.
“I was amazed that it worked,” he said.