The details for our first mission were:
- Target altitude: 30 000m
- Helium needed: 2600 liters
- Payload weight: 950 grams
- Carrying: 2 cameras, Arduino data logger, 3 science experiments (plant seeds, rotifer animals, radiation detector), two GPS modules (Spot Trace and TK 102-2 GPS),
- Ascent rate: 4,6 m/s
- Prediction: Balloon would land in Germany, 240km from the launch site
Monday was spent putting it all together: Making final touches to the on-board Arduino, carving out places in the box for the cameras, testing out the GPS modules, calculating helium, coordinating the pick-up, insulating the box (and testing it in the freezer), and figuring out many many more details regarding Tuesday's big day. In the end, we all came out of Monday with a deeper understanding of what it takes to launch a balloon up 35 kilometres.
All systems go!
"3 ... 2 ... 1 ... Liftoff!"
Missed the fence by a hair.
1: The wind will affect the rate of ascent. Better to have a lot of space (no pun intended) around at the next launch to avoid potential disaster. 2: A crash course on Finnish curse words for the Dutch and Spanish speakers.
A sigh of relief as we're off!
Around 800m, around the height of the tallest building in the world
Around 1300m, hitting the lowest clouds.
Going up. Ascent rate around 4,5m/s.
12:04:01, the outside temperature reaches its lowest point at -48 degrees celsius. Box is still well insulated and the temperature inside is a comfortable -5 degrees.
13:20:10, the balloon reaches its peak altitude at 31378 meters. The balloon bursts, and the payload starts to fall back towards the ground.
The details for mission #2 were:
- Target altitude: 24150 m
- Helium needed: 5200 liters
- Payload weight: 1150 grams
- Carrying: 2 Gopro cameras, Arduino data logger, 3 science experiments (same as mission #1), two GPS modules (Spot Trace and TK 102-2 GPS), and a GPS data logger from Stratoflights
- Ascent rate: 7,5 m/s
- Prediction: Balloon would land in Germany, south from Tuesday's landing spot
And we're off!
Second time's the charm. This time the launch was much smoother, even though the conditions were worse than on Tuesday
The weather conditions were worse, and most of the early footage from the flight is covered in clouds and mist
8700m. Last photo from the outside mounted GoPro. The camera couldn't stand the -35 temperature, and turned itself off after 40 minutes.
22600m. The burst altitude was reached after 1 hour and 10 minutes of flight time. Still a ways to go to reach the moon, which can bee seen in the horizon
Map simulation from flight data
Coming down fast
Flight #2 worked out as well as the first one, and provided us with valuable data and experience that we can utilize as we start to structure the course curriculum and tutorials for our students. Some kinks in the Arduino are still to be figured out, as well as figuring out methods to save battery life on the recording equipment. Nevertheless, now we knew what worked and what didn't. Luckily, we had placed an emphasis on recording as much of the process as possible during the week, so that we'll have as much information as possible in our use for our next teacher meeting.