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Sky's the limit on $148

MIT project launched in Sturbridge

Olive Yeh and his colleagues Justin Lee and Eric Newton moments before the launch of Project Icarus off Route 20 in Sturbridge. Courtesy photo. (click for larger version)
September 28, 2009
STURBRIDGE — When the Greek mythological character Icarus took flight, attempting to flee the island of Crete and escape his captor King Minos, the winged man flew too close to the sun, causing his wings to fail and him to plummet to his death.

On Wednesday, Sept. 2, another Icarus took flight from Sturbridge that, while not approaching the sun, soared higher than anyone thought it ever would, allowing a group of college students to photograph the curvature of the earth from the sky above Worcester County.

Oliver Yeh, an undergraduate student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) majoring in computer science and electrical engineering, was the main brain behind Project Icarus, which has since been featured on CNN, ABC and Fox News.

"I like to try new ideas," Yeh said Monday, "and a lot of them are pretty wacky."

Yeh, who spontaneously decided to bike across Canada last year, said he was inspired to send a balloon skyward after a series of experiments he had participated in for school.

See Wednesday's Southbridge Evening News for complete coverage of community news.

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