The first flight of the 2004 season is to be used to continue testing our cutdown device and our light-weight package configuration.
|Launch Date/Time||Saturday, 21 February 2004 at 8:00am|
|Alternative Date||Saturday, 28 February 2004 at 8:00am|
|Launch Site||East fairgrounds parking lot near Fairgrounds Pool (38° 04.6'N, 97° 54.9'W) in Hutchinson, KS|
|Primary Transmitter / Antenna||VX-1R HT running APRS on 144.39MHz / Vertically polarized dipole|
|Backup Transmitter / Antenna||Keyed oscillator on 147.55MHz (no modulation) / Horizontally polarized dipole|
|Balloon / Gas||Kaysam 600gram / 110 cu feet of Helium|
|Estimated Burst Altitude||102,000' MSL|
|Estimated Ascent Rate||950' per minute|
|Estimated Descent Rate||Approx. 1100' per minute at touchdown|
|Capsule(s) weight||3lb 0oz (1360g) including parachute, rigging, batteries, etc...|
|Chase Frequencies||146.52MHz, 7.2535MHz|
|Cameras/Film||Canon Elph LT APS camera with 25 exposures of ISO400 speed film.|
|Balloon Finder Telemetry Mode||PT Mode 2|
A beautiful February morning with highs in the 50's by the time we got out to recover the capsule. Overall the flight was good, but we had some issues with the tug configuration and the cutdown device.
|Launch Date/Time||Saturday, 21 February at 8:42am|
|Launch Site||East fairgrounds parking lot near Fairgrounds Pool (38º 04.6'N, 97º 54.9'W) in Hutchinson, KS|
|Burst Altitude||About 83,979ft (25,597m) MSL|
|Average Ascent Rate||825ft/min (4.19m/s)|
|Measured Descent Rate||1154ft/min (5.86m/s)|
|Touchdown Site||2 miles east of Madison, KS (38º 08.2516'N, 96º 04.1458'W)|
|Touchdown Time||Saturday, 21 February, 2004 at 11:00am|
|Recovery Time||Saturday 21 February, 2004 at 11:22am|
|Distance Traveled||101 miles (162km) as the crow flies|
|Total Flight Time||2 hours 18 minutes|
|Downloads||Lat/Lon File, Log File, Flight Analysis|
- The cutdown device somehow became active as soon as the unit was armed. We're not totally sure how this happened - there were no indications that the main controller board activated cutdown mistakenly. It is possible that the cutdown was left in an active state following some testing the night before.
- It can be difficult to determine that the cutdown is active (when arming) until it's too late. We will be including a piezo across the cutdown coil for audible confirmation that it is not cutting.
- We still had some sun glare around the camera. We had a single shade over the top of the camera, but apparently need a hood the totally encloses the camera.
- The dual balloon configuration did not perform as expected. This may have been partially due to insufficient lift in the "tug" balloon. During liftoff, it appeared that the main balloon almost appeared to be dragging the tug behind it. If the tug configuration is to be used in the future, the tug should have nearly as much lift as the main balloon to keep the lines taunt.
- There was no perceivable change in ascent rate when the tug burst (i.e. we can't tell when exactly it burst). This again was probably due to insuffient lift from the tug.
- We are beginning to see more and more activity on the standard 144.39MHz frequency. We will probably need to switch to an alternate frequency of 144.34 in the near future.