Press Release

Captain Kirk and Picard Going To Space

By SpaceRef Editor
April 28, 2012
Filed under , ,
Captain Kirk and Picard Going To Space

Space Enthusiasts Send Star Trek Captains Picard and Kirk Into Space

CHICAGO – April 27, 2012 – Space enthusiasts and student engineers will gather on May 5 to boldly go where no Star Trek character has actually gone before, accompanied by Star Trek’s finest: Captains Jean-Luc Picard and James Tiberius Kirk.

A team of more than a dozen individuals, backed by over 100 donors on Kickstarter, will launch models of the iconic science fiction characters standing atop their respective starships into space riding a high-altitude balloon to a height of 120,000 feet, an altitude just shy of the high-altitude balloon world record.

View the Kickstarter project:

The capsule–which includes Picard, Kirk, Riker, Data, and other action figures, five cameras and detailed life-like models of Picard’s USS Enterprise-D and Kirk’s NCC-1701 starships–is the most elaborate capsule ever launched in an amateur, high-altitude balloon flight. The five cameras on the rig will shoot the entire journey in rich 3D, while a team from the University of Illinois Observatory will use the balloon’s GPS coordinates to track and record video of the balloon from the ground during its entire flight–another first for projects of this kind. This incredible crowdfunded journey to the edge of space also includes two stowaways: custom-made action figures of the two men responsible for 2009’s Star Trek movie, director J.J. Abrams and cowriter Roberto Orci.

“I’m a huge Star Trek fan,” says project lead Logan Kugler, an entrepreneur and space enthusiast based in Silicon Valley. “I’ve watched more than 20,000 minutes of Star Trek in total and it’s done more to expand my imagination than anything else. Picard and Kirk are the heroes of this incredibly inspiring fictional world and they’ve never actually been to space–so I think it’s time we send them there.”

Only a handful of amateur, high-altitude balloon flights have made it above 100,000 feet. Kugler’s pure latex Kaymont balloon will expand to over 40 feet wide as it carries Picard, Kirk and nearly half a dozen cameras, digital packets and advanced GPS and HAM trackers to 120,000 feet–making it the most complex rig to reach that height. The flight will also make the Starfleet captains the second highest “people” in the world, behind only the astronauts on the International Space Station. At the flight’s climax, it will be above 99% of the Earth’s atmosphere. Paying customers will also be aboard: two authors arranged to have their new books sent up into near space. Thanks to the five on-board cameras and an advanced square superstructure designed by launch director, Spencer Gore, each starship and item aboard will star in its own video with no overlap.

After the roughly three-hour flight, the team will create a film of their exploits with Max Schlickenmeyer, the videographer behind YouTube’s three-million-hit video, “The Most Astounding Fact.” Once Picard and company safely return to Earth, the action figures (which also include popular characters Commander Riker and Data) will be handed over to their real-life counterparts. “I think this is something that every Star Trek fan wants to see before they die,” says Kugler. Two starship captains, 6 action figures, 2 starships, 5 cameras, and a launch crew of more than a dozen will send Captain Picard and Captain Kirk to the edge-of-space and return them safely to the Earth on May 5th from Champaign, Illinois.

In the famous words of Captain Picard, “Make it so.”

For More Information or to Schedule an Interview:
Logan Kugler, Project Lead

Spencer Gore, Launch Director

Fact Sheet

Space Enthusiasts Send Star Trek Captains Picard and Kirk Into Space

CHICAGO – May 5, 2012


* 3,000 grams / ~7 pounds
* ~375-400 cubic feet of helium
* Around 9-10 feet in diameter at launch
* Pure latex Kaymont balloon
* Will expand to be over 40 feet wide before bursting


* Peak altitude between 110,000 and 120,000 feet
(over 20 miles/3.5 to 4X cruise altitude of a commercial jet)
* Flight time of between 2 and 3 hours, split roughly into 2 hours ascent and 1 hour descent
* Unpredictable ground chase, but likely around 100 miles
* Minimum temperature of around -70F halfway up
* Above 99% of the atmosphere by mass at peak altitude
* Cosmic radiation of around 10x that of ground level
* Picard will be the second highest “person” in the world, only behind the astronauts on ISS


* All together, it will weigh around 12 pounds and will be around 8 feet across
* Will implement advanced research on payload stability to create the best possible video
* Primary construction is aluminum
(electronics will be kept within styrofoam for insulation and radio purposes)
* Satisfies all relevant FAA regulations


* Four redundant systems
* Tracking technologies include GPS, HAM and audible morse code
* Telescope tracking via University of Illinois Observatory; precursor to eventual directional,
high-bandwidth data communication

To learn more about this event or to receive the accompanying press release, please contact:
Logan Kugler, Project Lead

SpaceRef staff editor.