One little toy train had the journey of a lifetime, traveling all the way up to the stratosphere before it began its decent down to Earth’s surface. After an 18-mile climb and descent, the train — property of a wide-eyed, blond-haired, 4-year-old boy — landed in a corn field 27 miles from where its owner and his dad launched it on the heels of a weather balloon near Santa Cruz, Calif.

The Aug. 24 flight experiment was the brainchild of Ron Fugelseth, a California-based motion graphics producer whose son has a beloved toy train named Stanley. Fugelseth decided to launch Stanley into the air using a weather balloon affixed to a three-foot parachute. The procedure involved several months of monitoring the winds, as well as calling the Federal Aviation Administration prior to launch to confirm that the train-toting balloon would not interfere with any airplane flight paths. The hour-long climb into the stratosphere ended with a 20-minute fall into a corn field where Fugelseth and his son retrieved Stanley.

Fugelseth caught the flight on video with an HD camera focused on Stanley, who was secured atop a wooden dowel perch. The footage has been edited into a two-and-a-half minute YouTube video that has already garnered more than one million views. Fugelseth even went so far as to animate Stanley’s face using After Effects and Photoshop to mimic how he imagines his son sees the toy train.

In order to easily find the landed train, Fugelseth equipped Stanley’s balloon with an old cell phone for GPS. The foam box surrounding the camera and phone was also colored bright orange for easy spotting — which, in a corn field, was surely useful. In addition, the dad used the University of Wyoming’s balloon trajectory website to plan a launch site that would keep Stanley from hitting anyone.

“I launched him from a location that I knew would bring him down into farm land,” Fugelseth wrote in the YouTube video description. “The prediction website was only 5-10 miles off, so he landed safely in a corn field, far away from any towns…. I didn’t want Stanley to be a murderer. Plus, I wanted to make sure my son got Stanley back. :)

Photo and video credit: Ron Fugelseth/YouTube