The Aftermath of SABLE-3

Balloon flights like SABLE-3 are nothing new and being done regularly by numerous groups and individuals, so what happened after publishing the SABLE-3 web page on Thursday was completely expected & I find it all very amusing. Within 24 hours the SABLE-3 web page & story was already on where it was viewed 91,984 times & received numerous comments by Friday at 2 PM. The gizmodo story was also on where it was dugg 1782 times and received another 120 comments and by Friday evening had 34 different blogs about SABLE-3 with links to the web page.

Shortly after publishing the SABLE-3 web page my internet connection started to become ever increasing slow and I knew something unusual was happening, but didn't know exactly what until my son Garrett called on Saturday to tell me that my web site wasn't accessible, but not to worry as the server (on the same internet connection) was fine and simply being slash-dotted. I didn't know what that meant or was happening so Garrett told me about SABLE-3 being the latest hot news story and the rest is best summed up by the comment in one blog, that said "The site seems to be getting hammered right now".

And now, the rest of the story . . . . .

Tony's home town paper, the Hanna Herald, ran a story about his Sable-1 flight in 2006 and it was no surprise to see the paper run another story about his Sable-3 flight, but this was just the first of many interview requests and published stories this time.

Email, interview requests and phone calls have not only been received from other local papers, but foreign magazines and news agencies like RainyDayMagazine, the Next Magazine in Hong Kong, and, an international news and features agency in London, England. They provide stories to newspapers and magazines in Europe and around the world and sent Tony a scan of the story that appeared in the Scottish Daily Record in Glasgow.

Wednesday, Sept 5 - The story made the Globe and Mail today and the story and interview with Tony is the best yet. Tony also appeared on CBC radio today and the interview can be heard HERE.

OUR WORLD FROM ABOVE – On Aug. 11, Hanna resident Tony Rafaat and a group of amateur radio enthusiasts launched a high altitude balloon near the city of Sherwood Park. The project consisted of a 1,200g weather balloon, a parachute, a tracker with GPS and a digital camera. Weather conditions were ideal and the balloon climbed to an astounding 37km above sea level. At that altitude, atmospheric pressure is almost non-existent and the temperature is about -70C. The balloon burst and was tracked to its final destination just north of Vegreville and recovered with all components intact. Rafaat plans to try another launch in the future.

Hanna Herald

Friday, Sept 7 - Tony appeared on the Edmonton CityTV Breakfast Television show this morning and, after just finally being able to browse the web again, my internet connection suddenly slowed when the SABLE-3 web page address was mentioned and my server became 'hammered' again.

Friday, Sept 14 - The story made front page of the local Sherwood Park News.

I don't remember the exact date, but Daily Planet on the Canadian Discovery Channel also interviewed Tony and did a short story about SABLE-3.

Monday, Sept 17 - Someone has turned the web page into a very nicely done Power Point Presentation, but it would have been nice if they had at least asked for permission to use the copyrighted pages as full size, high-res images could have then been supplied which would have been much better to use then the small low-res images stolen off the web site.

We tried to keep track of everywhere this story appeared, especially in print form, but it quickly became impossible to keep up and Google, after only a week, now lists 26,700 web pages with the story and the list grows daily. And in addition to all of the email interview requests, requests for help to do this same thing have also been received from around the world plus one that simply wanted to let us know that the folks at the Canadian Consulate in San Diego had spotted the story and were circulating it.

And finally, many of the countless comments and replies found on as many web pages are very interesting, but this one from is one of my favourites -
     Comment: What kind of guys normally launch balloons?
          Reply - The ones that have their pants pulled up to their chests, hair slicked back with Brylcreem,
                           and thick black framed glasses with tape holding one of the hinges together.

          Reply - Guys that don't spend all day on Digg? Guys that actually *do* stuff?
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