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Deploying Balloon For Locating Rocket

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bguffer

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Anyone ever deploy a helium filled balloon from a rocket to help locate the rocket's landing site? The balloon would have to be tethered to the rocket of course, and the tether would have to be taller than any crops that the rocket might land in.
 

Donaldsrockets

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I'm sure this could be done if you had the right components and it would be an awesome concept.

I'd say a 10 foot long string would be adequate in most cases.

But you would want a mylar balloon instead of a standard latex balloon as a mylar balloon would be less likely to burst in tall weeds and the mylar could be reused several times and small rips and tears except a seam rip could be patched easily.

I'd buy such a system if the price was right.;)
 

MarkII

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But wouldn't the balloon lift the rocket up and carry it away? Also, how would it be deployed? I am assuming that you are talking about storing the uninflated balloon and a pressurized can of helium somewhere in the rocket, and then at some point, either during the descent or upon landing, the balloon would be released from its container, inflated, and then set free to float and bob on its tether. And many people think that dual-deploy is complicated! There are the design issues, and then there are the supply issues, such as: where could you obtain a small cartridge of He?

Having the rocket itself deploy some sort of non-permanent, easily viewed marker of its landing site is an interesting idea, though. Long streamers can sometimes do this once they have fulfilled their primary function.

MarkII
 

Chrisn

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Wouldnt be hard to do with a big rocket, and access to a lathe and possibly milling machine. (maybe some off the shelf components depending on how this needs to be done) There is a number of ways to do this but a GPS will always be more practical.
 

bguffer

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But wouldn't the balloon lift the rocket up and carry it away? Also, how would it be deployed? I am assuming that you are talking about storing the uninflated balloon and a pressurized can of helium somewhere in the rocket, and then at some point, either during the descent or upon landing, the balloon would be released from its container, inflated, and then set free to float and bob on its tether. And many people think that dual-deploy is complicated! There are the design issues, and then there are the supply issues, such as: where could you obtain a small cartridge of He?

Having the rocket itself deploy some sort of non-permanent, easily viewed marker of its landing site is an interesting idea, though. Long streamers can sometimes do this once they have fulfilled their primary function.

MarkII
I was thinking 3" and above diameter rockets. Balloon already inflated prior to launch.
 

Chrisn

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That would take up a bit of room, remember the balloon will expand at altitude.
 

MarkII

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I was thinking 3" and above diameter rockets. Balloon already inflated prior to launch.
Deployed while the rocket is descending or after it has touched down? A small motorized release mechanism, triggered by the altimeter, could be used, I suppose. The balloon would need to be in its own isolated compartment along with, and shielded from, the mechanism to release it. That would mean that the rocket would contain a bay for the electronics, a bay for the drogue, a bay for the main chute and a bay for the balloon. The balloon material would need to be tough enough to survive the deployment out of its bay and also to withstand the conditions in any environment that the rocket may land in (including among the branches in a treetop, if that is a possibility, or deep within a cornfield). Would it be possible to pack in a balloon that was large enough and visible enough from a distance to be worth all the trouble?

I do like the idea of having the rocket deploy some visible marker of its location, especially if it is paired with another device, such as a beeper or a simple RF signal transmitter. It would be great for one of those "rocket came down somewhere in that great big cornfield" scenarios. It could potentially be a viable alternative to one of those very pricey GPS systems.

MarkII
 

roadkill

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Instead of a balloon,

why not use a second smoke charge initiated after landing,
we already have the technology for that....

:confused2:
 

WiK

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why not use a second smoke charge initiated after landing,
we already have the technology for that....
I've always thought that was a good idea, but I've no idea where it falls under the "Do not install or incorporate in a high power rocket a payload that is intended to be flammable, explosive..." part of the safety code. I suppose you could say it's part of the recovery system and therefore not technically a payload?

Phil
 

bobkrech

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Smoke cartridges burn hot and can cause a ground fire. Most RSO's have interpreted the ruling to be that any pyrotechnic devices should be extinguished before ground impact to eliminate the chance of setting a fire on the ground.

A beeper, flasher, locating transmitter, or gps/transmitter are all more reliable than a balloon or smoke cartridge and reasonably inexpensive. The CSXT GoFast rocket http://www.the-rocketman.com/CSXT/default.asp actually used falconry transmitters weighing 8 grams http://www.merlin-systems.com/falconry/fmv.htm attached to the chute shroud lines to indicate recovery system deployment at 20 miles altitude.

Bob
 
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