Want to launch a high-altitude balloon into space?


A local startup needs your help to get off the ground. They make high-altitude balloons -- balloons that go really high -- higher than airplanes. In fact, some go into space. But starting a company is expensive, so they want people to invest in them.

Austyn Crites is the co-founder and president of Rockzip Highballoons. The company makes inexpensive high-altitude balloons. Crites believes there is a major market for these types of balloons.

"Over 800 weather balloons are launched every day around the world," says Crites.

Right now, high balloons are used for things like monitoring weather, providing Internet access and testing rocket equipment. But Crites says there is so much more potential -- especially for his balloons.

"Most people who think of weather balloons or balloons that go into high altitudes, typically think of latex type. But as they go up higher they stretch until they eventually pop -- in about an hour," explains Crites, "Our balloons are different. They are made from plastic skin. So as the balloon goes higher you can then reach a float time. Our balloons are floating for about 5 hours."

Crites says schools can use his balloons for science demonstrations. Farmers can use them to monitor crop conditions. And he even believes NASA could use balloons to inexpensively transport cargo into space.

Right now they are testing their smaller balloons, which in the past have floated into other states. The Rockzip team attaches GPS trackers and cameras to their balloons. Their last balloon floated into an Ohio bean field.

And they hope to commercialize their balloons soon. But they need help. People can go online to back the business:

Because while launching a balloon may be easy, getting a business off the ground is another story.

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