CovTrack presentation was featured on ESA’s news webpage. More details here.

Balloon 3 – 07.2019

Stratospheric Balloon 3 – 07.2019

Payload:

  • 433MHz Remote control (OrangeRx) + servomotor
  • 2 mini-cameras (SQ11) 1080p on-board video recording
  • picoAPRS-Lite (YO4ESC-12) – 1W, picoAPRS v3 (YO4ESC-11) – 0.5W
  • Venus GPS, with logger (OpenLog) and GPRS data upload (Arduino + SIM800L)
  • Launch information:

Results

The ascent rate of the balloon varied between 0.6 and 1.4m/s. This completely altered the flight path, and the balloon burst and landing happened in Ukraine. No accurate landing position was received, so the search area is rather large. We are currently waiting to be contacted by whoever happens to find it, as there are 2 phone numbers attached to the payload.

Lessons learned:

  • A radio command for a quick release of the balloon is necessary. This can significantly reduce the recovery effort.
  • We need a faster way to get the balloon launch authorization, because it is a very slow process, and other ways should be available.
  • Devise a method to correctly measure the balloon lift. The slow ascent rate would have increased to 3m/s with an extra of 0.2m³ of Helium.

Special thanks go the Romanian Ham Radio enthusiasts who were very eager to follow the balloon along its path. Also to our partners Vanguard Technology and Ing. Marius Dima, for their contributions in putting this payload together and for their expertise.