Near Space is a quickly booming interest of many. Near Space is the shore of space that is just before the official definition of outer space. It is at about 328,000 feet above sea level where the magic of Near Space happens and there are many who find their hobby within that realm.
Vehicles that travel in Near Space, whether they are ones of hobby or professional research ones, are called nearcrafts. Rockets that sub-orbit, balloons that are of the high-altitude variety and even camera devices that take photos and videos of the area are all among the things of interest available for enthusiasts of Near Space to take part in.
In Near Space is also called the upper atmosphere. In this area, ultraviolet rays are extremely strong. So radiation is a huge factor. There is also a vacuum of 99% or sometimes even greater so exploration is quite challenging which is part of what makes hobbies in Near Space very appealing to many.
Some make a hobby of sending balloons up into Near Space, high altitude balloons that contain packages which may include a camera or a device that sends back data. Others are into sending hobby rockets up into Near Space. While this area is of great interest to the military, weather scientists and is used for scientific research as well, it is still possible for the average person to take part in hobbies that involve the upper atmosphere and it’s actually not difficult nor expensive to acquire the credentials to do so.
Hobbyists have different goals in mind when playing in Near Space. Some are enthralled with space and the hobby is an alternative to actually going to outer space as many would have loved to have been in a space career. Others have a fascination with the weather and send their devices up to study such. Still others love the power and mystery that the upper atmosphere brings with it.
While the cost of this hobby can quickly get astronomical, there are options that can be considered. You can actually ride “piggy back” on someone else’s device if you do your homework and find someone willing to let you (for a fee, of course). For many, this option provides the same thrill of going into Near Space but at a fraction of the cost.
As hobbies in the Near Space real continue to grow, so do the possibilities. You can often combine your efforts with that of a fellow enthusiast and cut the price in half. Or, join a team and the cost is cut even more.
Where there’s a will, there’s a way. If you do not have the means to get into the hobby yourself, even at the level of being part-owner of a space vehicle or balloon, you can still enjoy it by watching the races or observations. There are a growing number of organized events that you can find through searching online and you can interact with people who share your enthusiasm.
For those of us who are fascinated with space, Near Space gives us the opportunity to do things that we cannot do in true outer space. It is a place that is close enough to play in yet far enough away that it is full of mystery. If Near Space is beaconing you…answer the call. Find your place in Near Space!