How far can Pegasus II see?

How far an Pegasus II see from the apex of the flight?

That question is complicated by the atmospheric conditions at the time.  Light refraction comes into play because the denser layers of the atmosphere, closer to the surface, bend light and extend the visible distance.  There are a host of factors that come into play at the point in time the observation is made, either extending or reducing the theoretical limit due to refraction.  Most of the time it will reduce it.  A calculation without using refraction produces a smaller visible range, a range likely to be exceeded by an unknown amount.

The apex of Pegasus II’s flight ~111K feet, should have enabled us to view some or part of 40% of the number of states in the United States and some of Canada.  Not a bad stat.



Pegasus II – Stats and Pictures

Thank you all for participating in the flight of Pegasus II, you have been the most gracious and patient audience and it is has been our greatest pleasure to present this historic trip to near space to you.  The mission team made a little history by broadcasting to you real-time telemetry from a UAV over 110,000 feet above the surface in the earth to users around the world.  Additionally, we received user messages for the craft from around the world using the mobile apps.  Messages from India, Norway, France, USA, Martinique, New Zealand, Argentina, Belgium, Germany, and Australia were greatly welcome to make the event truly global in nature.

Below are some stats from the flight and a few pictures.  More pictures and video to follow this and week.

With a tear in my eye, we thank you again for giving true meaning to this now not-so-impossible adventure in experiential STEM research.

 Flight Time  2 hours, 8 min, 53 secs
Ascent Time 1 hours, 41 min, 50 secs
Ascent Rate 18 ft/sec, 5.49 m/s
Descent Time 27 min, 3 secs
Descent Rate 67.8 ft/sec, 20.7 m/s
Max Altitude  110,703 feet or 33,750 meters
Min Air Pressure  6.7 mB or 0.65% atm
Max Radiation  23 #/sec
Max UV Rays 3.6 at 98,807 feet
# Users during Flight Time  1,863
% Mobile Users  42%
Total Field Gateway Messages Sent 16,576
# Ground Telemetry Messages 9,706
Total App Messages Received ~ 31,000,000

Recovery Map – Purple indicates point of touchdown.  Other 2 points indicate last GPS location by launch and mobile stations, respectively.


Deformed Balloon due to high wind prior to launch


1 min after launch from the down camera


The Edge of Space near the apex of flight


Balloon Burst in 1/100 second increments from 110,703 feet altitude



Pegasus II – Complete

Brief 43 sec video clip of the flight.

More details for follow:

Launch Time   12:24:58 CDT
Apex Time   14:05:44 CDT
Ascent Time   6,046 secs or 100.76667 min
Launch Altitude   731 ft
Launch Pressure   1000.1 mB
Apex Altitude   110,703 ft
Apex Pressure   6.7 mB
Ascent Rate   18.19 fps or 5.45 m/s
# RT-messages sent   16,576
# Discrete Data Points   301,608
# Users watching   1,863
% Users with Mobile App   42%

Final Checks Complete – GO FOR LAUNCH

The final checks are completed and Pegasus II is GO FOR LAUNCH tomorrow Apr 13, 2016 at 12pm.  Join us for a trip to near space.

Share the event on Facebook and help us promote the flight.


  • Receive text messages it Pegasus II reaches flight milestones.
  • View telemetry in real-time.
  • View live video from Pegasus II’s eye-in-the-sky.
  • Send messages to the craft via our mobile apps and be recorded in the flight record.



Text Message Flight Notifications:
Twitter: @PegasusMission
Web site:
Blog: Facebook:
Mobile Apps: Search for “Pegasus Mission” in your app store

Pegasus II – Flight Forecast

Current forecast for Pegasus II.  72.8K (52.3 miles) range.  Sunny and 56 F, should be good for video.  Launch time 12pm (noon) CDT.  We really like those user messages from the mobile apps where you give us location, e.g., “Hello from Norway” or “Hello from North Carolina” as they get recorded into the flight record.

You can download mobile apps from your app stores by searching for Pegasus Mission.

Sign up for SMS text flight notifications at and we will text your phone  when we launch and make flight milestones.

Web site for live telemetry and video


To See A World…

To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour.

-William Blake, Auguries of Innocence 

During my freshman year in college I noticed an artifact hung on a piece of string with the stanza above from Blake’s poem pasted on a small piece of wood. I do not know its origins or how long it was in that room, but I think of it as a message in bottle, imprinted only on those fortunate enough to come into its possession. I remember staring at it and imagining the possibilities. When time came to change rooms, I left it there for the next occupant to discover just as I had…a timeless gift from the unknown. It’s been 36 years since I held that piece of wood in my hands and its message is still resilient.

Pegasus II is an emotional experience for me. I have spent nearly 10 years searching for the answer to a single question, “Why does the digital world behave differently than the physical world?”, my grain of sand. That question, my great question, has been wind to my sails all these years, and never would I have imagined that the answer would be found 20 miles above the surface of the Earth. The great team that is Pegasus II and our friends at MS Research have made this possible, and especially Mark Nichols my co-founder of The Pegasus Mission. I am indebted, you allow all of us to see a heaven in wild flower.

The film crew interviewed me in Kankakee, IL at the launch site on 2/23. I did okay until the last question. “What do you think others will get out of Pegasus II?” It was at that point, when I felt a rush of emotion hit me, it literally broke me down…and on camera. The Pegasus Mission is all about experimentation, exploration, and challenging assumptions about what is possible. We do this with zeal, we believe in trying regardless of the outcome. Swing-and-miss is acceptable, appreciated, and certainly respected, otherwise we cannot learn…but try you must with everything you have. That effort, the undaunting will to try, has inspired a few people. This was something never in the “charter”, but it is the team’s greatest compliment. My answer to that question (after an emotional break) was, if Pegasus II inspires a single person to challenge the status quo, then it was all worth it. I must believe that because it is next generation of explorers that are our collective future, a future that is unknown.

I wondered over the years how many others were inspired by Blake’s words hung in that freshman dorm or whether that piece of wood was lost to time. We will never know. Yet, somehow the past of an unknown person has pierced the veil of time, lives onboard Pegasus II, and perhaps inspires others.

We fly as soon as weather permits.


C’mon “Weather” Man

The Pegasus II mission team is still day to day in search for appropriate weather conditions to accommodate opening a launch window.  It’s springtime and busy weather patterns are emerging making it more difficult to find conditions within flight and launch operating parameters.  Even searching for alternative launch sites that yielded better conditions for winds aloft, have shown ground winds exceeded our operating parameters.  The Pegasus II mission team must remain patient until the weather conditions give us an opportunity to make a launch window.

Today’s (Mar 18, 2016)  busy weather map [Figure 1] from NOAA shows 4 high pressures and 10 low pressure in or near the United States.

Figure 1 – Mar 18, 2016


Flight Conditions near Central Illinois for Mar 21 – 25, 2016 exceed operating parameters.

Mar 21, 2016 – Radial Distance 93.77 miles


Mar 22, 2016 – Radial Distance 104.42 miles


Mar 23, 2016 – Radial Distance 117.24 miles


Mar 24, 2016 – Radial Distance 119.11 miles


Mar 25, 2016 – Radial Distance 78.68 miles (unrecoverable)






Waiting for Weather to Break

The Pegasus II mission team is prepared for another launch attempt,  but the weather is not cooperating.  The forecasts have shown high velocity upper atmosphere wind conditions with no wind shear for the last 3 days. This means the radial distance of the flight would exceed operating parameters.  Unfortunately, we are forced to wait for better weather conditions before we can set a launch window.  We are day-to-day at this point, stay tuned.