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For Its 50th Anniversary, the Ford Mustang Takes a Trip To Space

The celebrations over the Mustang’s 50th birthday have been nothing but extraordinary — from launching a completely redesigned model for 2015 to displaying a drop-top pony atop the Empire State building, Ford and its fans have been having a good year. However, the guys in this video have quite literally topped all other efforts by sending a model Mustang to space.

Yep, the guys strapped a plastic Revell kit Mustang to a weather balloon fitted with cameras and sent it off to space. The video is edited down to under three minutes, but it documents the major points in the Mustang’s journey. It took 74 minutes for the Mustang to reach its maximum height of 110,000 feet before the balloon burst, allowing the car and its cameras to plummet to earth some 21 miles below.

Perhaps the most interesting aspect about the Mustang’s ascension into space is when the original pony car debuted some 50 years prior in 1965, the American Space Race was just heating up. The United States went on to land men on the moon in 1969 while Ford’s Mustang has moved to become a global product for 2015 and one of the most iconic vehicles to ever roam the streets.

Click past the jump to see the video of the high-flying 2015 Mustang

Why it Matters

This act is a true testament to the loyalty and affection some gear heads and Ford fanatics have for the iconic American pony car. Sure, the folks who were a part of this launch were in fact Ford dealership employees, but we’ll just hope they did this out of automotive love rather than a sales gimmick. Either way, I’m writing about it right now, so that says something about the Mustang’s ability to catch people’s attention and their unique approach to celebrating the car’s birthday.

Ford Mustang

Ford Mustang

The 2015 Ford Mustang is an all-new car from the wheels up and includes many major updates in design to help push the car further into an iconic status. Gone is the live rear axle and in its place is a sophisticated independent suspension setup. Several new engines are joining the corral, including a turbocharged, 2.3-liter inline four-cylinder making more than 300 horsepower. The 5.0-liter V-8 also returns with some updated features, along with the base 3.7-liter V-6 sporting at least 305 horsepower.

Sales of the 2015 Mustang should start this fall, with a base MSRP not much more than the current car. Stay tuned to TopSpeed for all the continuing Mustang coverage.

Press Release

As far as we know, Pegasus, the winged horse of ancient Greek mythology never actually made it to outer space, but on May 2, 2014, a Ford Mustang did just that.

On that day San Francisco-area Ford zone sales manager Michael Sego, Steve Kubitz, managing partner of Big Valley Ford in Stockton, Calif., and some friends became the first to document a Mustang leaving earth’s atmosphere.

For Its 50th Anniversary, the Ford Mustang Takes a Trip To Space

“We wanted to celebrate 50 years of Mustang and the impending arrival of the all-new 2015 Mustang by doing something really special,” said Sego. “Mustang has always been about getting behind the wheel and hitting the open road, but we decided to take to the open sky.”

Development of the original Ford Mustang began in 1961, around the same time astronauts were taking tentative first steps into space, which would ultimately land them on the moon. Ever since, while astronauts have been expanding the limits of scientific knowledge, Mustang has been inspiring drivers to expand the limits of their own experiences.

Launching a Mustang on a rocket into space wasn’t practical for Sego and the Big Valley Ford team, so they took inspiration from Austrian skydiver Felix Baumgartner. In October 2012, Baumgartner used a custom helium-filled balloon to ride a capsule up to nearly 128,000 feet above the earth before diving back to earth.

Sego and Kubitz acquired a high-altitude weather balloon, and added a rod to the side instrumentation box suspended below it. The team mounted one of the Revell Mustang model kits that were distributed at auto shows earlier this year on the rod, along with a pair of small action cameras to record the event.

Click here to view the video of a Mustang’s trip to space

For Its 50th Anniversary, the Ford Mustang Takes a Trip To Space

Approximately 74 minutes after the balloon was released, it reached a maximum height of 110,000 feet, or nearly 21 miles. At that point the car and the instrumentation box – which contained a GPS location transmitter – came back down, landing in a field where it was retrieved about six hours after launch.

During its descent through the stratosphere, the only Mustang ever to venture into space went through a period of uncontrolled spinning – similar to what Baumgartner experienced during his jump – before getting low enough in the atmosphere to deploy the parachute.

“More than 9 million Mustangs have been built in the past 50 years, going to virtually every part of the planet,” added Sego. “We’re excited to have been able to take our favorite car to new heights by launching it into space.”


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