# Egg Drop From Space

Nov 26, 2022
this is

#### space

and this is an egg moments before you tried to throw an egg world's highest now in an egg throwing competition in case you never had a chance to do it yourself in school the goal is to build a contraption that can protect a raw egg from breaking when

### drop

ped from the highest possible guy, so my original plan was to

### drop

an egg on a contraption that I built from the tallest building in the world, but humans are always building taller buildings, so if I really wanted to test this record in the future, I realized I would have to. go all the way to the top and straight into outer

#### space

and when i started this journey three years ago i knew if i could draw my experience of landing things on other planets i would be guaranteed the record but what i didn't know is this would be the most exhausting video since the physical and mental point of view i would never try, but first let me explain what i was thinking: the plan was to strap an egg to the front of a rocket and then attach that rocket to a weather balloon. and take it into space once there, the weather balloon would release it and just using gravity, the rocket would eventually accelerate past Mach 1 breaking the speed of sound and then autonomously adjust the four flaps on the back to steer itself. itself to the target location and then 300 feet above the ground it would release the egg which would fall freely onto a mattress we had placed on the ground and it all seemed pretty straightforward so like any good engineer we split the problem into smaller steps start first with calculating the terminal velocity of an egg and by terminal velocity I mean that any object including humans has a maximum velocity at which it falls once the force of the Earth pushing on it towards it is balanced by recoil force to collide with more and more air molecules as you start to fall faster for humans than top speed is approx 120 miles per hour and after doing some simple math for an egg it tops out at 75 miles per hour to make sure the egg wouldn't break if we dropped it on a mattress at its terminal velocity we did our first test and, since we couldn't find a tall enough building whose lawyers would agree to let us throw an egg over the side and onto a mattress we had to improvise a bit 83. yea check out the egg with no cracks so our mattress protects a egg even if it travels faster than its terminal velocity is a good start the next step in our DIY space program was to go back to my friends in the small farming town of Gridley California which is the place where he broke the world record for toothpaste for elephants, where the plan was to place a Target mattress so the egg would fall in the middle of a field with a bit of a margin built in just in case, ok, t we've got the smoke charge back here so like we're coming down from the sky we want to be able to detect it this is the computer here are the fins by the way this is Joe. and he has a fascinating channel called BPS space and what the thing that he finds especially cool is that he didn't go to school for any kind of engineering degree, he's completely self-taught and recently even landed a SpaceX-style launched rocket after seven years to try.
Joe was in charge of tracking and guiding the rocket to the mattress. using these movable tail fins while I was in charge of the payload, in other words Howie would prevent the egg from freezing on the way up in a small oven with heaters that would break before we fell along with the mechanisms to release the egg. the egg and the purpose of this first trip to Gridley was basically a flight characterization test before spending all the time and money getting the balloon up into space we're only here to do a low altitude test at 10,000 feet only to prove to ourselves that we can steer the rocket using the fence we are setting all kinds of world records here the biggest mattress in the world the fastest egg yes the highest egg the fall what could go wrong plus 4000 things one d so with everything more or less in place and ready to go all we needed now was an official egg which luckily Gridley has in abundance hey precious devils in the history of our universe this first chicken he has ever laid an egg that will go faster than the speed of supersonic sound Mach One Sorry, I leave you my congratulations, so the next morning we are up at 4 am. minute decision to add a metal streamer to the back of the rocket to make it easier to track visually we have redundancy all around here we have redundant wires redundant igniters Mark has two servos in the fairing with no silly glitches and that's exactly when we had our first dumb glitch, GPS is mad, uh we have to clean up the launch, we were walking back.

## egg drop from space...

I got the Exile bloop and it pooped it and when cleaning up the release we unfortunately had to release all the helium. of the balloon which is an opportunity I'm not going to pass up hey wow that's great and back at home base we ran some tests which confirmed our hypothesis that since the GPS unit was right at the top the rear of the rocket, the last minute edition of the metal streamer was interfering with the GPS signal and that messed up the math of the rocket and the calculation of its speed, so we thought it was time to release the egg, so early to the next morning we returned with some modifications, the most important ones.
I'm swapping out the metal tracking streamer for one made of plastic. The good news is that today there is almost no wind. The bad news is about 20 degrees colder, which means our mattresses are kind of frozen. the rocket to the new balloon launch site send it send it i think we will send it is happening if we see it oh yeah yeah oh there it is and although everything looked great then quickly r We noticed that the balloon was going up at a slower rate than expected As we anticipated, we're already south and only halfway there, which totally missed the intended trajectory, so after a few more minutes, we decided to manually drop the rocket because we were already so far away. too far of course for the rocket to make up for the lateral distance of the mattress using just the fins and gravity three two one clicked oh boy that's not good and that's when we ran into the second problem of the day when the Finns forced actively the rocket in an uncontrolled death spiral has an altitude of 1400 descending fast ok it landed somewhere check the mattress just in case and since we have the gps coordinates of the rocket we go out to track it the real question is what is the state of the egg, I think Mark.
I may have some bad news for you, at which point we are met with a whole field of sitting birds, which is another opportunity I'm not going to pass up, is that a suit, no egg, the egg dropped. Look, the fact that this is out means the egg did hatch, so that's good, but despite that silver lining, the moving fins seem to be forcing the rocket into a dive, which was surprising because Joe definitely it would go through a lot of analysis and testing before. Coming here so after doing a thorough review of images and firmware he was able to locate and fix a single rogue minus in the code that seemed to be causing all the control issues which meant we were ready to give this last chance. we ran out of spare parts and spare weather balloons so regardless of the outcome this would be the last try if we couldn't land the egg on a mattress from 10,000 feet we would have no hope of it falling over for all the way. down space freak that's some nerdy space talk because everything is exactly as expected I'm standing in the middle of the world's biggest mattress where hopefully the egg will land in about 45 minutes otherwise we're spinning one of my new videos on world's largest mattress the last step very good girl are you ready for a walk three two a run baby looks good so far we are at 500 meters now for the balloon to hit the target mattress on each launch we start from different points around Gridley , which raises an interesting question, maybe you have wondered how big balloons like hot air balloons steer or I guess they even know where they are going to land and the answer is that computers know the direction and speed of the wind at all heights as you ascend, so on any given day, if these are the forecast wind directions and speeds, we would need to launch ourselves here to be right on the mattress when we get to ten thousand feet, but how do we know all this?
The information is the fascinating part because every day it's someone's job to launch two balloons like this into the sky at noon and midnight London time, but this has been done in over a thousand places around the world in those same two exact times and all of these balloons have something called a radio song attached to them that measures things like altitude, pressure, temperature and wind and then relays the information to ground stations which feed it to the supercomputers and that's why which the weather and wind predictions can be so accurate which is why 2000 of these huge weather balloons go up every day and then they pop and just land somewhere and since they are transmitting a signal some people make a hobby of trying to track it how close we are to the drop point balloon launch that's it and this time we were launching right in the target drop zone which was a good news on the one hand, but it raised some new challenges on the other, where is the 400 controller?
Go something altitude 98 meters I think we're all down. Okay, that was exciting, so we were much closer this time and even managed to steer the rocket in the right direction just a little bit. We found it egg egg no egg wait a minute that's the example. g the egg oh I'm going to crack I mean it ain't cracked so after three failed attempts we still seemed pretty far from where we needed to be which meant it was time for the last buddy phone with my friend Adam stelzner, who you might recognize as this guy from when we landed Curiosity on Mars, he has a PhD from Caltech and he's also the lead engineer for Mars sample return and perseverance, so after explaining to Adam what we were trying to do, it immediately detected a fatal flaw in our brilliant plan and you're making terminal guidance for something the size of a house how you gonna do that? how do you do it?
I mean, I know how you do it physically. they were basically trying to make a precision guided missile dude there are thousands of people who have done this before and they are sworn by federal law not to say a word you say and to be fair you made a good point about the people who could help. we actually can't and even if we figured it out ourselves, the ethics of just posting that how-to video on YouTube is questionable at best and so after some fruitful discussion with Adam, but we pitched it up. and then we do a pitch.
If you start to worry about heating, you might want to start with a two-stage thing. We decided to Pivot and instead of a precisely guided egg landing on a mattress in a small town, we would set our sights on a much more general egg landing target. heading into the desert, but as part of the pivot we completely scrapped our old design and spent a couple of months designing and building a new system that was heavily based on Curiosity Landing because we thought if it could safely put a rover on Mars , it could safely land an egg on Earth so we can still go to space in a weather balloon, but this time the rocket would have fins that wouldn't move and be three times as long and four times as heavy to ensure we got the egg . at superperson ic speeds on the way down, just like NASA detaches the crew stage in the upper atmosphere and then uses arrow break to dissipate a bunch of the energy and velocity that we'd detach from the back half of the rock. it already broke the sound barrier and because it now weighs so much less it would naturally break by mistake and slow down to the new lower terminal velocity, then on Mars the next step is parachute deployment followed by shield separation thermal and we would still in kind launch our own parachute and then release our own nose cone which will then expose our array of damping airbags as you can see here which we borrowed from spirit and opportunity The landings were intentionally ambitious and extremely tricky , but after a couple of months of complete redesign and building we found ourselves atthe desert feeling cautiously optimistic and that was partly due to our lucky orange parachute because when I left NASA my fr My friends gave me this rectangular piece of nylon and for scale it's the exact same rectangle here that is part of the parachute that the rover Curiosity to land, so that piece of parachute is actually one of 80 rectangles that you see here while they were doing final tests. in the world's largest wind tunnel and so it seemed fitting that after some writing, cutting and sewing, it was nobly repurposed for the new Mission, so as the sun set on the hotel, we worked up to high hours of the night in the end. preparations this was an idea and a passion project that took place over three years and it took an amazing amount of work to even get to this point we had thought and prepared for so many things that could go wrong and even though i was feeling optimistic i knew at the end of the day, it was the laws of physics that ultimately determined our fate, so early the next morning, the crew in charge of the balloon arrived at the launch site to start filling it up and this building looks like it's a little different from the others. because it is a zero pressure weather balloon.