The Oregon State Linux Users Group, with the help of the Oregon Space Grant Consortium (OSGC), launched a balloon satellite to celebrate 100 million Firefox downloads. The balloon carried a Firefox banner up to 100,000 feet before exploding and parachuting back to earth. This was our successful attempt at topping the 50 million download stunt.

Firefox-One Timeline

T-6 days

On Sunday we were at a BBQ trying to figure out how the OSLUG could celebrate the 100 Millionth Download of Firefox. The conversation started with paper mache logos to dozens of Firefox painted beach balls. But then the conversation turned to launching a weather balloon with help from the OSGC. We would take back the sky!

T-4 days

By Tuesday the OSGC was on board and excited. Catherine Lanier and Jack Higginbotham from the OSGC were going to help us launch a balloon with the ability to carry a 12lb payload up to 100,000 feet! The plan was to put a camera satellite and the biggest Firefox logo we could find on the balloon.

T-24 hours

The final piece of the puzzle was getting a huge poster. It was the day before the event, so we knew it would be a difficult to find a place to print one. After making a few phone calls NWGI stepped up and donated a 5'x6' poster! This was the poster that actually flew on Firefox One. The LaunchOregon crew worked the rest of the day to create a structure to support the poster and camera satellite.

T-90 minutes

The helium started flowing. OSCG had a balloon filled in no time, but we quickly found out that this was the small balloon only for the extra smaller Firefox banner we had with us.

T-10 minutes

It just so happened that there were about a 1000 visitors on campus for the "Beaver open house". Also, conveniently enough, their break was during the launch. A sized crowd (~100 people) showed up to watch us launch the balloon/Firefox contraption.

T-15 seconds

We got a "green" from OSGC and the crowd quickly circled around the apparatus. The countdown started from 95, going to 100, to celebrate the 100 million downloads and 100 thousand feet that the balloon would travel. Yes, sort of cheesy, but it was fun.

T-5 seconds

95 ...
96 ...
97 ...
98 ...
99 ...
100! ...

It was off! The crowd cheered, watched until they could not see it anymore, scratched their heads, and walked off.

Special thanks