Ron Fugelseth and his four-year-old son Jayden are enjoying a bit of Internet fame after the duo launched Jayden's toy train, Stanley, into the stratosphere.
Fugelseth said he was inspired to launch his son's prized toy after seeing a similar video using a Lego figure. "I figured if two high school kids can send a Lego man to space, then I, as a grown man, can make Stanley [go] to space," Fugelseth told the Oakland Tribune.
Using a weather balloon and Flip camera, Fugelseth attached the train to the end of a pole. The co-owner and creative director of Oxygen Productions Inc., a California-based motion graphics and film production studio, Fugelseth said his biggest concern was losing the train on its eventual descent to Earth. He entitled the project "A Toy Train in Space."
Watch the full video of Stanley's space adventure:
"My 4 year old and Stanley are inseparable like Calvin and Hobbes. He's been attached to him since he was two, and they play, sleep and do everything together," Fugelseth wrote on his YouTube page, where the video was first posted.
Things didn't look good when Fugelseth lost contact with the train shortly after launch. But he says the GPS tracking signal suddenly resumed about four hours later.
"I thought, 'Oh, it's gone,' he said. "Then it magically started working again."
Stanley was eventually recovered in a corn field about 27 miles from where he was first launched, a process Fugelseth described as being like "deep sea diving." After compiling the launch footage, Fugelseth then put his professional skills to work, adding animation to Stanley's face, making it appear as if the toy train were responding to different visual milestones on its journey.
Fugelseth also has posted an original video documenting Jayden's bond with the toy train.