On / by Alex Baker

Smartphones and challenges accessing additional space is a conversation that’s been had plenty of times, but probably never quite like this before!

To mark the release of their new Redmi Note 7 smartphone in the UK, technology pioneers Xiaomi turned to the Sent Into Space team for help creating a truly eye-catching product launch.

Xiaomi prides itself on making quality technology available to everyone, but they challenged us to take that level of accessibility to new heights by launching the Xiaomi Redmi Note 7 into space and to a maximum altitude of 35,375m above the Earth’s surface!

The idea behind the launch was to showcase the phone’s durability, battery and technology in a way that has never been done before and matched the phone’s slick design.

So how did we tackle what was undoubtedly one of our most exciting challenges to date?

Before we’d even thought about getting off the ground and into space, there were several intricate points to consider, such as how the phone would withstand extreme subzero temperatures, and how we would utilise the phone’s impressive 48-megapixel camera mid-flight from our base in Sheffield, UK.

To tackle temperature issues, the Rednote 7 was insulated inside a bespoke XPS foam box that was manufactured in-house and customised to fit the dimensions of the phone, keeping it snug and warm at minus temperatures.

The earth's surface captured from space using the Redmi Note 7's 48 megapixel camera

Without this the phone’s internal battery would have ceased to work at around -20c, but with this added protection, we were able to ensure the phone’s camera remained fully-functional and continued to capture still images every 10 seconds, despite temperatures dropping as low as -58C - testament to the Redmi Note 7’s durability!.

Launching the Redmi Note 7

The launch itself was executed involved the use of our specially designed high-altitude balloon that has been manufactured for this exact purpose. While utilising the same underlying principles as a weather balloon, this bespoke piece of equipment has been designed to carry our launch vehicles into near space using the natural buoyancy of hydrogen gas to safely to over 100,000 feet above the Earth's surface.

Once off the ground, we were able to use our array of advanced computer systems to relay information back in real-time to accurately calculate flight altitude and temperature at any given time during the flight.

The Redmi Note 7,pictured from near space

Upon entering near space, we utilised the phone’s 48 megapixel camera through the use of a third party intervalometer app, which allowed us to capture some awesome images of the Earth’s surface, before the Redmi Note 7 began its descent back to Earth, eventually landing within 300m of predicted landing area in Gilberdyke, Yorkshire.

The Sent Into Space team hard at work planning launch and recovery of the Redmi Note 7

Impressively, the Redmi Note 7’s battery life survived the whole duration of the flight, despite capturing roughly 900 photos amid extreme temperatures! We also didn't make any modifications to the phone itself, which is equally impressive!

The Xiaomi Redmi Note 7 smartphone descends back down to Yorkshire

Post-flight, our in-house creative team set to work creating a range of visual assets for Xiaomi, including a behind the scenes video providing insight into all aspects of the Redmi Note 7’s flight, from build to launch and recovery.

This launch really was truly unique, so make sure you check it out!

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