Weather balloon video captures incredible images of the valley

Weather balloon video captures incredible images of the valley

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PHOENIX -

Hot fun in the summertime for five friends, launching a dream -- a weather balloon -- high over the skies of Phoenix.

"I thought, man, that thing is going up fast," said Bryan Starbuck.

Starbuck is a software architect for a local solar power plant and the mastermind behind the science experiment.

At Noon September 21 after nearly three months of planning, Starbuck and his coworkers had lift off.

A mounted camera captured stunning video.

"It was really exciting.. so cool watching it go up," said Gerland Sanders.

Before it burst, the weather balloon was six feet wide on the ground.  By the time it hit nearly 90,000 feet, it was 25 feet wide -- the whole thing is 15 feet long.

"I got a call from Bryan saying it showed up on the site and we went straight there," said Scott Reece.

After 2.5 hours, a GPS alert -- the guys tracked the balloon past Florence, off the U.S. 60 -- 68 miles from where they started in Maricopa.

"The parachute -- it was on the other side of the hills out there -- we came at it from above," said Daniel Weast.

Starbuck and the rest of the crew called their mission a success -- ready to fly again.

The friends tells us it was -70° up where the balloon was flying, so that caused some minor issues with the GPS and the group almost gave up trying to find it on the ground.  It took 45 minutes for the balloon to drop.

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