A Finnish man decided last year that for Christmas, the best present he could give his sons would be to send them into space.
Tero Tähtinen wanted to give his sons and godsons a lifetime memory, he said on YouTube, so he did what any amateur space enthusiast would do: Got his hands on a weather balloon and a GoPro camera and tinkered around in his basement until his space balloon was ready for liftoff.
In April, after getting permission from Finnish authorities, Tähtinen attached the camera, three GPS tracking devices and photos of his sons and godsons to the balloon, filled it with nearly 4,000 liters of helium and sent it skyward.
The balloon reached an altitude of about 18 miles — technically near space — before it burst, according to Tähtinen. The diameter of the balloon expanded from 2 meters at liftoff to 6 meters right before it exploded.
“After the burst, the parachute opened after a few kilometers of free fall and took the packet safely to ground,” Tähtinen said.
He said the video was supposed to be a Christmas present for his sons and godsons, but “it was ready a bit late.”
Mission accomplished, regardless.