website header logo

The micro-sized tracker wrapped in bubble wrap, with a streamer recovery.

Flight #28 - 2015c

The third flight for Project: Traveler in 2015 has been rescheduled for Monday May 25rd in Hutchinson, KS.  This flight will be a personal altitude record attempt and will consist of just a bare-minimum of one APRS transmitter and a streamer recovery.

The APRS tracker will be the brand new ArduinoTrack design, based on the Ublox Max M8Q GPS engine and the latest version 1.10 PCB.  No other cameras or equipment will be flown on this attempt.


The flight package will consist of the ArduinoTrack electronics and battery inside of a soft plastic bag.  Bubble wrap packing will be used to protect the electronics.  Given the very low weight of the flight string, a "streamer" will be used instead of a parachute.  For the streamer material, we will be using a light weight plastic table cloth.  The overall length of the flight string will be under 2 meters in length, from balloon to bottom of the streamer material.  Most of that length will come from the streamer itself.








Flight Parameters
Tracking Predictions
Photo Highlights


Launch Date/Time Saturday May 23rd at 7:00am (12:00Z)  
Alternative Date Monday May 25th at 7:00am (12:00Z)  
Launch Site Crossroads Christian Church in Hutchinson (38.1015N, -97.9399W)  

Capsule 1 (Track)


ArduinoTrack (Combined) with RadioMetrix 300mW transmitter and Ublox M8Q GPS, signing W0ZC-11.
Beaconing is simple time delay:
20 second delays through entire flight.
Path is disabled above 2,000m MSL.
Recovery / Misc
Streamer Recovery (.20kg)  0.10kg
Total Flight Weight Total neck weight on the balloon. 0.34kg
Balloon / Gas 3000g Kaymont with 4580L (160cu ft) Hydrogen. Neck lift (1.7kg) / Net lift (1.0kg)  
Estimated Burst Altitude 40,000m MSL (131,000')  
Estimated Ascent Rate 4.8 m/s (945'/min)  
Estimated Descent Rate 5.1 m/s (1000'/min)  
Chase Frequencies 440.000MHz  



May 24

Today's forecast is almost identical to yesterday.  I also checked the 1500Z forecast to compare, and it's also consistent.  This generally translates into a very reliable flight forecast.


The surface weather forecast is almost identical to Saturday morning's, with relatively light winds out of the south and low chances of rain.




May 23

After Saturday's failure to launch, I've started re-running predictions for a Monday launch.  The track looks very similar to Saturday's predicts, only more north in nature.  Surface weather looks promising, although there could be storms in the area.






2015 05 19 14.57.47The completed ArduinoTrack board on the newly designed board carrier that was 3D printed.  The battery is a 7.4V, 1.8AH Lipo and will run the tracker for a solid 8 hours, even at freezing temperatures.  The rope passing through is the load line that connects directly to the balloon above and the streamer below.


2015 05 19 14.59.26

The ArduinoTrack is sandwiched between layers of bubble wrap to keep it safe and warm up at altitude.  More layers will be wrapped around the edges and the whole thing stuffed into a .9mil clear plastic bag.


2015 05 19 16.12.43

The flight string is prepped and ready to be attached to a balloon.  Note that there is no parachute on this flight, only a streamer recovery to keep the terminal velocity of the package under control.



2015 05 25 07.48.30

After delaying Saturday due to receiving an empty bottle of Hydrogen, Monday we were ready to fly again.



IMG 7339

We put a little too much of that Hydrogen in the balloon, and it shot up at over 1300'/min.  The balloon wanted to twist to the side which caused the package to wrap up the side.  It's possible that the package (there were four cut-off tie wraps on the capsule that potentially were exposed) or the antenna itself is what punctured the balloon prematurely.




IMG 7356

The recovery was an easy .2km march across a field of CRP grass.



2015 05 25 10.08.24

As you can see, we recovered and enourmous amount of latex.



IMG 7365

The recovery crew.



More photos can be found in the Photo Gallery, Flight 2015c.