Flight Six - August 19, 2014
Balloon Size: 1200 gram
Payload Weight: 3.416 pounds
Neck Lift: 5.124 pounds
Free Lift: 1.708 pounds or 50% of payload weight
Ascent Rate: Shooting for 1200/minute
Descent Rate: Shooting for 1400/minute
Burst Altitude (predicted): 105,000'
Burst Altitude (actual): 113,080'
HAM Call Signs: W0RC-12 and K0DCW-12
Launch Location: FMS Parking Lot
Facebook Page: FMS STEM Facebook Page
HAB Amateur Radio Record Book: 74th Place : Amateur Radio High Altitude Ballooning Record Book

This flight was deisgned to be a equipment test flight. We had been having some problems with our main trackers so we decided to fly a balloon and fly all three of the trackers so we could determine which one was giving us the most problems and retire it from service.

Our goal was to fly a 1200 gram balloon and attempt to get as high as possible. Here is our prediction. You will notice the actual flight was pretty close to the two prediction models. This is why we are never sure of the flight path till the day of the actual flight.

We were using the amazing PocketFinder as our method of recovery once on the ground. The PF has never failed us! Love that thing. Thanks Dave Morse and the whole crew at PocketFinder for all the support!!!

Tuesday, August 19 Prediction
HAB Prediction
Tuesday, August 19 Prediction
3S Research Prediction
Tuesday, August 19 Actual Path

This is the flight data that the RTrak-HAB sent back and was stored on the APRS.fi website. We were able to comb through the data and pull out the information that showed the complete path.

Google Earth representation of the flight. Used the data from the RTrak-HAB and compiled it excel.

The first one shows altitude over time for each tracker used. Both trackers showed pretty much the same altitude time series with WORC-12 having more beacons (280 beacons, 184 usable) that K0DWC-12 (192 beacons, 161 usable). Unusable beacons had no altitude reading or were coded as “Delayed or Out of Order Packet [time stamp],” “Rate Limited 5 sec,” or “location changes too fast (adaptive limit).”

K0DCW-12 Data Transmissions
Data translated by Robert Neumann
W0RC-12 Data Transmissions
Data translated by Robert Neumann

The second plot uses the time-of-beacon and altitude data to show the rate of altitude change over time for the WORC-12 tracker. It looks like most of the variability in climb rate occurred under about 10,000 feet, maybe due a more turbulent boundary layer close to the surface. Above that,there was a slight increase in speed as the balloon climbed higher. The fastest descent rate was about 130 mph (11,455 feet/minute) at the second beacon after the balloon burst, around 90,000-feet-plus or so. Then it slowed as it approached the lower levels, to about 20 mph at its last beacon closest to ground level.

Acsent and Decent Rates
Data translated by Robert Neumann

We had a super flight! The balloon took our payload higher than we expected. We were excited to get to 100,000 feet but when we got to 113,000 feet were super excited. We have never gotten that high. The GoPro and Contour cameras took some great HD video that we will work on editing out and get posted on this site soon! The GoPro caught the balloon burst. You can see the payload excel away from the burst balloon as it floats off into space. Very cool footage!

Thanks to all those that helped make this a successful launch! We want to send a HUGE thank you to the Brainerd Lakes Ham Radio Club. They have been instrumental in the programs success and without them none of this would have been possible. A special thank you to Al and Shirley Doree. They have been there since beginning and we really appreciate all they have done for us!!!

Filling the Helium balloon and getting everything ready. Filling the Helium balloon and getting everything ready.
Looking back at FMS. Entering the cloud deck at 3,500 feet.
Nice view of the cloud deck from above. Small storms trying to pop.
Heading up slowly. Starting see the blackness of space.
Getting close! Like the building storm clouds!
Love the shadow. Not sure what caused that. Over 75,000 feet now and going higher!
Now that is up there! 113,000 feet! The blackness of space really stands out. Another beautiful shot. So steady!
Perfect picture!
What is left of the 35 foot balloon! Neat shot!
Starting it's journey back! Coming back quick!
The view right before touchdown. The cameras view once back to Earth.

Here is the video of our complete flight. I sped it up to 300% so it plays faster. Right before the pop we set it back to normal speed so you can see thge violent pop and the balloon pieces as the payload starts it's drop back to Earth.