High Altitude Balloon Pix

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Jan 22, 2009
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This has come up around here before so I thought I'd add some photos from our most recent HAB flight. This flight hit 100,000' over NE Iowa on November 23, '09.




More information along here: https://nixhab.com/

Photo Slideshow here: https://s33.photobucket.com/albums/d94/bigheadpete/NIXHAB-3/?albumview=slideshow

The flight's profile can be seen here: https://aprs.fi/?call=kc0gpb-11&dt=1258934400&mt=m&z=11&timerange=3600 The up part only is viewable as we lost the GPS antenna connection when the balloon burst.

We flew another balloon a little earlier than hit 106,000' but due to my screw-up the camera's SD card filled prior to apogee. Here's its path: https://aprs.fi/?call=kc0gpb-11&dt=1257984000&mt=m&z=11&timerange=3600



Wish I didn't have to pay $200k to get there (relatively safely) in person.
Wow, those are gorgeous! is that their top resolution, or is there any way of getting them in a higher quality? I want to make it my desktop background.
So that's what's responsible for all the UFO sightings!! :D

Very cool pics.

Can you give us a little more info on what's involved in pulling this type of thing off? FAA waver? Special camera? Cost sunk into each flight? Looks interesting.
The topic of HABing has been brought up a few times on this site before. These guys did it for under $150, with nothing special, all off the shelf parts. https://space.1337arts.com/ They even have a guide for how to do it yourself.
Those are beautiful photographs. I wish England was a bit bigger so I could have a go.
You can do it in the UK - at least the physical size is enough (but I don't know about your regulations). The US state of Iowa is about the same square mileage as England (proper). You have enough room! HABs have been flown from Cambridge by university students: https://spacefellowship.com/2008/07/27/cambridge-university-spaceflight-join-the-space-fellowship-and-open-up-an-official-team-forum/

It seems that Space Grant colleges in the US have HAB programs. I know Iowa State Univ. and U. of Minnesota fly HABs as well as many other public and private Colleges and Unis. They're a source of info and seem to welcome (or at least tolerate) people tagging along on recoveries.

I haven't read through that Project Icarus website yet I don't see how you can do it for $150. The gas and balloons are more than that (I'd guess they get some nice educational discount). Using cell phones won't report an altitude above 65,000' AFAIK. But regardless it isn't too expensive. We paid $65 for the balloon and $80 for the gas. Everything else is reusable.

If you can tell me which photo(s) I can email you a full res. copy, Lentamental. plilja at cfu dot net

While it isn't terribly complicated there is a lot to learn to make it happen. We used amateur radio connected to a GPS receiver to report the balloon's position(s). There are other methods using different radio devices but it is all basically the same procedure.

In the U.S. you can fly an unmanned, untethered balloon that weighs less than 6 lbs. without formal permission.

This online book, Near Space by L. Paul Verhage is a good primer on how to do it. https://www.parallax.com/tabid/567/Default.aspx there are many other online resources as well.

Edge of Space Sciences also has a lot of information on their program. https://www.eoss.org/index.html

Don't let an Amateur radio license keep you away from doing this. They are easy to get and the test questions can be found online. https://www.arrl.org/

Canon cameras come in to play with an intervalometer (I grabbed a script off the EOSS web site linked above under hardware>camera). More on the camera hack here: https://chdk.wikia.com/wiki/CHDK

There are a lot of challenges in a HAB flight but that just makes it more fun.

I hope this helps.

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Thanks for sharing the links.

I really enjoyed the Nixhab site.

Very cool project.
I just read that Project Icarus "How To" on their web site. While they did use a small, less expensive balloon (350 gram as opposed to our 1200 gram (they go up to 3000 gram)) I have my doubts if you could repeatedly and reliably do this with their methods. It works but I'd go so far as to say they were lucky recovering it.

Typically HABists shoot for a 1200 fpm ascent rate. Icarus had 300 fpm. That could be a problem if the balloon gets caught in the jet stream and is carried many, many miles in its slow ascent.

At any rate - I don't wanna pick apart their successful flight. There are better ways to do it, in my opinion. It may be more costly but I think the chances of success are greater. But it's all fun!