One burger has gone where no burger has gone before: the edge of space.
Five Harvard students, sponsored by a local burger restaurant, spent about 30 hours total over two weekends sending the first burger toward the upper reaches of the atmosphere.
The students, juniors Renzo Lucioni, Nuseir Yassin, Daniel Broudy, Jamie Law-Smith and Matt Moellman, spent a weekend brainstorming ideas.
The five, mostly science majors, decided they wanted to send a hamburger into space and contacted Jon Olinto, co-founder of B.good burger.
Yassin told ABC News, “School just got a bit repetitive.” He said they came up with the idea as a “purely fun project.”
Olinto was immediately interested and asked his secretary to send over a check to the students. She thought Olinto was joking at first and didn’t send the check until after he told her the students were serious about the project.
“This is the most incredible thing that could happen to us ,” said co-founder Jon Olinto to ABC News.
Two weekends, a GoPro Hero camera, a HTC Rezound phone and a 600-gram weather balloon later, the students were ready to launch the project. They had gotten the burger two days before, varnished it, super-glued the layers together and screwed it to the pedestal.
Launched in Sturbridge, Mass. on October 27 at 12:22 P.M., the B.good burger took about two hours to ascend to an altitude of 30,000 meters (19 miles), and an hour to descend.
“There were so many things that could go wrong,” said Yassin. He listed issues with the camera or where the burger landed as some of their concerns.
Once it landed, it was recovered about 130 miles north of Boston. The phone transmitted GPS data to the students every 30 minutes, but they also used wind data to predict where it would land. The burger landed high up in a tree and B.good had to hire a tree climber to get it down.
They checked their video. “We were nervous that all of it was blurry and we couldn’t see space,” said Yassin. Luckily, he said, they “actually found 2 to 3 minutes of clear footage.”
The students already have the funds for another mission and hope to involve a local high school.
“All of us have aspirations in doing something in the private sector of space,” said Yassin.
The restaurant, which offered a special buy one burger, get one free promotion in conjunction with the launch, spent about $1,000 on the project.
“Definitely the best 1,000 bucks we ever spent,” Olinto said.