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Jul 15, 2006, 09:53 PM
Professor of Wood
kd7ost's Avatar
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Todays AP from 80,000 feet.


My Buddy Jeff, kd7inn, and I are members of a hobby HAM radio group that periodically launches balloons to 100,000 feet. We track them, take pictures in flight, recover the capsules etc. It's a huge treasure hunt. We use NOAA soundings to get wind data, plug in altitude ascent speed, burst altitude and descent speed to predict where the capsules will land. We pick remote areas and go launch, recover and explore. The whole flight, once you launch, takes about 2 to 2.5 hours. We fly in accordance with FAR 101.

Today Jeff tested a new system on his capsule where he used a servo, a basic stamp microcontroller and a camera to position the camera from vertical down, to horizontal to vertical up. The Stamp then takes a sequence of pictures and moves the camera and takes more pictures. There were 204 pictures taken via autonomous systems while in flight today. I thought I would share a few.

The first two pictures really illustrate the flight mechanics well. The first one is a picture looking straight up. There is a 1200 gram weather balloon filled with ~ 230 cubic feet of helium. The big round white thing on top. Then there is a parachute tied at the apex and lines coming down to the capsule. This picture was taken about 350 feet agl but about 3800 msl.

The next picture shows the last picture taken of the balloon before it burst. The whole stack was at 88,000 feet msl. You can see the sky is black even though the sun is still bright. The balloon has swelled to a huge size in the very thin atmosphere. Thatís what causes it to finally burst in fact. It swells till the latex just pops and the descent begins.

The next picture shows the Earths horizon at 80,000 plus feet. You can see the sky is black. There is a thin layer of blue denser atmosphere near the Earth and you can see the curvature of the Earth.

The next picture shows the parachute deployed after the balloon has burst, and we have completed a mechanical cutaway of the latex remains. The sky is still black and the air is thin. Descent rates are close to 200 mph at high altitudes. They slow down considerably once you start getting down to 40,000 feet and quite slow by touchdown.

The last picture is looking down at the lower capsule and the Ground from above 80,000 feet. This is looking down on the Owyhee High Desert Mountain Range.

Dan

The Photo gallery here has more pictures if anyone is interested in this unique hobby activity.
http://www.tvnsp.org/
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Jul 15, 2006, 09:57 PM
Registered User
zakstang's Avatar
cool.........
Jul 15, 2006, 10:23 PM
Registered User
ExtremeSkyes's Avatar
That's awesome. I guess that's probably as close to space as you'd get without being a part of NASA .

It looks pretty high up there and looks like it could fall a long way back from where you launch it. I guess it depends on wind conditions, but how far do you usually have to travel to recover the balloon?

Ex.
Jul 15, 2006, 10:25 PM
Registered User
Talontsi96's Avatar
WOW....thats WAY COOOOOOOL.....
Jul 15, 2006, 10:35 PM
Professor of Wood
kd7ost's Avatar
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ExtremeSkyes
That's awesome. I guess that's probably as close to space as you'd get without being a part of NASA .

It looks pretty high up there and looks like it could fall a long way back from where you launch it. I guess it depends on wind conditions, but how far do you usually have to travel to recover the balloon?

Ex.
It varies quite a bit. The Jet stream is the biggest component of that. Sometimes it isn't overhead so we might go 20 miles up and only 20 miles down range. That's not the norm though. Today we covered over 100 miles via vehicle from launch to landing. Not to mention the 100 miles to get to the launch point. It can be pretty far. We have had our capsules travel in excess of 100 mph in a fast jet stream tied to a weather balloon. Today we hit 80 mph from 40k' msl to a little over 50k' msl. You go through it again on the way down but it's faster to get through on the descent.

Dan
Jul 15, 2006, 10:57 PM
by Alary Design
Photoship One's Avatar
damn! that is some seriosuly cool stuff. I'm thoroughly impressed!

how exactly do you find the device once it's landed??
Jul 15, 2006, 11:09 PM
SlowStick Test Pilot
patrickegan's Avatar
Cool
Jul 15, 2006, 11:28 PM
Not THAT Ira
Real Ira's Avatar
Cool?
Way cool?
Interesting?
Come on guys this absolutly freaking ROCKS!!!
Jul 15, 2006, 11:40 PM
Not THAT Ira
Real Ira's Avatar
This tweeks some thinking that was prodded by Burt Rutan's (one of my personel heros) latest projects.
If he can put an aircraft with a pilot and 400 lb payload into space by first getting it to high altitude on a mother ship to shorten it's trip.....How much would it take to get a 16 oz camera package to the same altitude????
If a bunch of us got our heads together this could actualy be done!!!
Burt spent $20,000,000 to put 600 lbs into space. If that is divied up by the pound, a 1 pound camera package starts to look possable!
Before everyone starts to holler that the costs don't break down that way ....well no kidding but it's not impossably far off.
What exciting times we live in!
Thanks Dan for the inspireing post.
Jul 15, 2006, 11:46 PM
Professor of Wood
kd7ost's Avatar
Thread OP
Thanks everyone. Glad you enjoy it. The pictures from up there start to look the same so people do other things. Some people are kind of science oriented. One guy always flyís something that tries to measure UV radiation, see if he can collect dust from outer space coming into the atmosphere, stuff like that. I have yet to fly a camera on one of my capsules. I'm more into the transportation aspect. We track these using a system called APRS. We see it on a map overlay on a laptop as we move to recover. We know altitude, lat, lon, ground speed etc. Some capsules report certain status or functions performed via radio link to us.

Last year I built a capsule and punched it away from another capsule from 96,000 feet. It had a parachute but that was tucked inside a tail fin assembly. It free fell from 96K down to 20,000 where I had the flight computer, (Basic Stamp 2) watch altitude from GPS, and deploy the chute by releasing the tail fin. Pictures on pages 1 and 2 here.
http://www.tvnsp.org/modules.php?set...view_album.php

Then the day of the flight, pictures on pages 4 through 6 here
http://www.tvnsp.org/modules.php?set...view_album.php

Dan
Last edited by kd7ost; Jul 16, 2006 at 08:46 PM.
Jul 15, 2006, 11:52 PM
Professor of Wood
kd7ost's Avatar
Thread OP
Quote:
Originally Posted by Real Ira
This tweeks some thinking that was prodded by Burt Rutan's (one of my personel heros) latest projects.
If he can put an aircraft with a pilot and 400 lb payload into space by first getting it to high altitude on a mother ship to shorten it's trip.....How much would it take to get a 16 oz camera package to the same altitude????
If a bunch of us got our heads together this could actualy be done!!!
Burt spent $20,000,000 to put 600 lbs into space. If that is divied up by the pound, a 1 pound camera package starts to look possable!
Before everyone starts to holler that the costs don't break down that way ....well no kidding but it's not impossably far off.
What exciting times we live in!
Thanks Dan for the inspireing post.
100,000 feet is fairly easy to get to. Helium will do it. You can use 0 pressure balloons to get higher but not by very much. 350,000 feet is a very rare to get to altitude though. Thats really where Outer Space is concidered as starting at. At 100K the atmosphere is a lot like what you would find on Mars. Very little oxegen, Temps at -60 to -90 F. You also have to study FAR 101. We fly under exemptions due to small weight and size. But there are groups out there flying hundreds of pounds. It takes a bit of coordination. I don't think flying heavier would be hard to pull off. Just more expensive. The regs aren't real tough to accomplish.

Dan
Jul 16, 2006, 12:02 AM
Am I registered?
Randy Due's Avatar
Neatest thing I've seen in a long time!
Jul 16, 2006, 12:07 AM
Whadda YOU lookin' at?
CactusJackSlade's Avatar
One word: AWESOME!
Jul 16, 2006, 01:07 AM
i gotta try is there a club or someting?
Jul 16, 2006, 01:36 AM
Professor of Wood
kd7ost's Avatar
Thread OP
Quote:
Originally Posted by rumplestilskin
i gotta try is there a club or someting?
I don't know if there is a group in your area. Here's a Yahoo Groups that we use for our group, the TVNSP. (Treasure Valley Near Space Program) http://groups.yahoo.com/group/tvnsp/
You would have to sign on but there is no fee and no membership. This is just a Yahoo requirement. Ask your question there. A lot of groups monitor each others boards and others might know if there is a group in your area.

I think it is pretty exclusively Amateur Radio operators. I would check with your local HAM groups too. They would know if there was such an activity in your area.

Good luck

Dan
Last edited by kd7ost; Jul 16, 2006 at 08:47 PM.


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