Durham County Library reaches the outer limits

Dec. 24, 2013 @ 11:18 AM

Rodney Radford recently received a message: “I found your package. Call me back.”

Radford was the lead technician on the payload assembly for a capsule that the Durham County Library attempted to send into space about five months ago. And it almost made it.
Initially he thought it was a prank call. Luckily Radford called the number back and spoke with Carl and Kimberly Boyce of Troy, N.C. who found the library’s first payload near the Uwharrie National Forest.
“They were pretty tickled to find it,” said Casey Ness, DCL children’s librarian. “They noticed a tree had fallen and happened to see the down balloon with a broken box.”
Ness worked with Radford to assemble the payloads and was more than happy to find out that the payload had been discovered.
On July 10, a payload including cameras, stickers, GPS tracker and live video transmitter that was funded by the Friends of the Durham County Library was launched from the Durham Bulls Athletic Park with the hopes of making Durham County Library the first library in space.
“On that night the payload encountered stormy weather at 70,000 feet,” Ness said. “We lost the signal from the radio and GPS trackers.”
Once the payload was retrieved, Ness and Radford pulled the flight data, photos and video from the equipment and were shocked at what they found.
“The library had succeeded not once but twice in getting a capsule into near space,” Ness said.
According to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the boundary to space is internationally recognized to be 100 kilometers or 328,084 ft.
Ness said that one camera had 700 photos, there was video from two of the cameras onboard and that they are still waiting on specific height details.
Photos and video from the payload can be viewed at www.firstlibraryinspace.org.