Makoto Azuma had a 50-year-old bonsai tree from his own collection
flown from Japan to the United States in a special box for the project. The
tree was launched from the Black Rock Desert in Nevada -- site of the
annual Burning Man festival -- at 6:30 in the morning.
To get his flowers and mini tree airborne, floral artist Makoto Azuma worked with JP Aerospace, which bills itself as an independent space program. "The JPA team consists of volunteers who design,
solder, test, and assemble some of the most innovative hardware in aerospace
today," says the company's website.
Here, the team readies one of the two vessels for its flight skyward. The system that carried the bouquet was called Away 100, while the one carrying the
bonsai was Away 101. They both consisted of lightweight metal cages attached to
weather balloons. Each had a series of still and video cameras as well as
a Spot GPS tracker so that they could locate the equipment once it fell back
to Earth on its parachute-assisted return.