How the Boy Scouts Reached the Edge of Space

Screen Shot 2015-10-30 at 9.59.08 AMWith the likes of Distinguished Eagle Scout astronauts Neil Armstrong and Jim Lovell in our midst, history shows the BSA is no stranger to space exploration. But in Scouting you don’t have to be an astronaut to gaze over the edge of space – Scouts can scope the boundaries of the stratosphere without ever leaving their hometowns.

In fact, Scouts from the Michigan Crossroads Council dove into the science behind space, aviation and other STEM topics to send the first coffee cup to the edge of space – just as if they were launching into space themselves.

Boy Scout weather balloon
STEM executive Mike Powell releases a weather balloon that carried a coffee cup to the edge of space. (photo credit:Susan Field-The Morning Sun)

The project was a collaboration between the council, local elementary school SPARKS program and Cops & Doughnuts, which funded the experiment.

The group equipped a 20-ounce Cops & Doughnuts coffee cup with a weather balloon, cooler, two cameras and global positioning technology to record the whole experience.

Scouts and students from local elementary schools gathered to watch the balloon launch, as the coffee cup ascended 80,000 feet above Earth.

Science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) Executive Mike Powell tracked the weather balloon’s location from launch to landing. He pinpointed the ballon’s landing point in a drainage ditch between a wheat field and bean field and quickly collected the project footage that he says was “out of this world.”

Check out the footage from the weather ballon below for a birds-eye view of the earth from the edge of space and then read the full story on The Morning Sun.


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Hayley Cordaro is a communications specialist at the Boy Scouts of America. She loves sharing inspiring success stories and uncovering new ways volunteers and employees can make the most of their Scouting experience. If you have story ideas or questions, reach out to us at