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Comment: There are quite a few groups and individuals... (Score 1, Informative) 106

by NorthwestWolf (#27250287) Attached to: DIY Space Photography
in the U.S. sending payloads into "near space" on a fairly regular basis. It's much more common than most people would suspect. I've seen a rough estimate of ~1500 people in the U.S. who are involved with near space experimentation. It's very cool stuff and one of the few minimally regulated amateur sciences still available to those so inclined in the U.S.

An excellent primer is the Near Space Book:

Here are several links to active near space groups:

Treasure Valley Near Space Program:

Arizona Near Space Research:

JP Aerospace:

Most of these groups often need help with tracking and launching and at very least will share what they have learned with those interested.

The only problem with being a man of leisure is that you can never stop and take a rest.