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Flight 29 narrowly missed power lines on its terminal descent.

Flight #29 - 2015d

The fourth flight for Project: Traveler this year will fly two ArduinoTrack flight computers, a new sensor, and a new camera platform.  The ArduinoTrack has only seen minor updates since the last flight, but 2015d will include the latest hardware revision on the PCB.  On the W0ZC-11 capsule, there will be a second temperature sensor measuring outside air temperature (in addition to the standard inside air temp).

Finally, in a third separate capsule, there will be a Raspberry Pi computer running Linux that has a total of four, 5MP cameras pointing in different directions and collecting images about every 4 seconds. 

We may also be flying a second balloon on Saturday morning (#30, 2015e) as we will probably have enough left over Hydrogen and I have a spare tracker/capsule from our last 2015c flight.










Flight Parameters
Tracking Predictions
Flight Results
Photo Highlights


Launch Date/Time Saturday September 5th at 8:00am (13:00Z)  
Alternative Date n/a  
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 altitude-based delay:
20 second delays below 4,000m, 30 second delays above 28,000m.  Otherwise 40 second delays.
Path is disabled above 2,000m MSL.

GoPro Hero mounted internally and pointed at an onboard science experiment.


Capsule 2 (Track)


ArduinoTrack with Radio Shack HTX-200 HT transmitter and Ublox M8Q GPS, signing W0ZC-12.
Beaconing is simple time delay:
15 second delays through entire flight.

Canon A570IS camera running CHDK.

Sparkfun 434MHZ transmitter module, transmitting AM modulated RF on 433.895 +/- 10khz.  The 434MHz beacon sends the W0ZC callsign every 5 seconds.


Capsule 3

Raspberry Pi computer is equipped with four multiplexed cameras facing down, up, and out (x 2).  Pictures are taken every three seconds throughout the flight.

Recovery / Misc
Rocketman Parachute (.20kg) and misc rigging (.15kg).  0.35kg
Total Flight Weight Total neck weight on the balloon. 2.68kg
Balloon / Gas 1200g Kaymont with 5.3cu meters (190cu ft) Helium. Neck lift (4.3kg) / Net lift (1.6kg)  
Estimated Burst Altitude 30,000m MSL (98,425')  
Estimated Ascent Rate 5.3 m/s (1040'/min)  
Estimated Descent Rate 7.1 m/s (1400'/min)  
Chase Frequencies 440.000MHz  



September 4

The final prediction is still showing an easterly track, only slightly extended since yesterday.  The surface weather is forecast to be clear and slightly warm for launch.  Surface winds should be in the 10kt range.




September 3

Today's predictions are pushing out far enough east that I don't think a launch site relocation will be necessary.  I anticipate hanging out at the church parking lot until at or near burst, and then we'll head out for the recovery.  The 1200Z and 1500Z forecasts were nearly identical.


20150903 1200




September 2

Tonight I ran predictions from both the 1200Z and 1500Z soundings, and have captured both of them below.  The tracks are only slightly different, which indicates that our actual flight path will fall somewhere between the two.

The surface weather is looking perfect, with a cool morning, sunny skies, and light winds.


20150902 1200


20150902 1500


September 1

Winds continue to be low velocity, but they're looping back in to Hutch for the touch down.  If this forcast continues, we MAY evaluate moving the launch into South Hutch.  Otherwise, surface weather looks to be very favorable for watching the balloon.




August 30

We had a complete reversal in winds tonight, almost by 180 degrees.  It's still shaping up to be a very short flight though, heading northeast instead of west.  Surface weather is still looking like sunny and warm, with little to no chance of rain between now and Saturday.




August 28

The peak winds are back down to low levels.  Still a westerly track.




August 26

Today it's still tracking west, but the wind speeds have picked up somewhat.  The surface weather is up to a high of 35C, with a possibility of a thunderstorm, presumably in the afternoon or evening.




August 25

A light westerly track is looking pretty promising for the Labor Day Weekend launch.




August 23

Continuing to hold true for a light westerly winds.  Long range surface weather forecasts are showing warm and sunny for the weekend.




August 22

The initial flight prediction is pushing back to the west at a leisurely 21 knots.




Launch Date/Time Saturday, September 5th at 8:11am (13:11Z)
Launch Site Crossroads Christian Church in Hutchinson (38.1015N, -97.9399W)
Burst Altitude 24,411m MSL (80,089') 
Average Ascent Rate 4.71m/s (927'/min) 
Measured Descent Rate 7.70m/s (1,515'/min) with a very little latex attached and no fouling. 
Touchdown Site 37.9710N, -97.4845W 
Touchdown Time Saturday, September 5th at 10:12am (15:12Z)
Recovery Time Saturday, September 5th at 10:31am (15:31Z)
Distance Traveled 42km (26mi)
Total Flight Time 2 hours, 1 minutes 
Downloads W0ZC-11 Log, W0ZC-12 Log, Flight Path (KML)


This flight included two of the newest ArduinoTrack flight controllers running the latest firmware.  The W0ZC-11 controller included an extra external air temperature sensor that piggy backed off of the I2C bus for data.

The Raspberry Pi is running an IVPort adapter module that allows up to four additional cameras to be managed from a single port.  I 3D printed a carrier for the four cameras that gave us an up, down, and two horizontally mounted views.  The system worked well, but the images had a strange tint to them that I haven't been able to put my finger on.  Much more experimentation is needed before these cameras replace the trusty CHDK firmware, although this does show promise. 



2015d 600


IMG 7470

The payload packages laid out, waiting for a GPS lock. 


IMG 7472

Andrew from the newly formed Dodge City group overseeing our operations. 


IMG 7481

One story, five jokes, and a meter of duct tape later, Danny has the neck sealed off.


IMG 7505


IMG 7510

Lift off of the first balloon of the morning. 


IMG 7536

Recovery wound up being very easy, after narrowly missing these power lines, a square kilometer of forest with a river going through it, a field fire, and impassably muddy roads. 



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