Tuesday, October 12, 2010


The as-yet-unnamed Inland Empire Near Space Enthusiasts (IENSE) group has completed final preparations for the launch, tracking, and recovery of a high altitude balloon scheduled for launch Saturday morning from the Ritzville, WA area. Final launch preparations were discussed in a leadership meeting this past weekend.

Details follow:

Launch: Saturday, October 16, 0800-0830PDT, weather dependent (forecast is a go for launch)

Launch Site: Ritzville High School. Launch team on-site by 0730. Breakfast at Ritzville Perkins 0645PDT.

Flight profile: Wind predictions are to the East.

Projected LZ (landing zone) is 65-90 miles (LZ will be refined and identified on www.findu.com upon burst detection).

Projected altitude is 90k feet on a two hour flight.

Tracking callsign: Two APRS trackers: K7GPS-11 and KG5AO-8. (Tracking also available on www.aprs.fi)

Package: 1000g latex balloon with helium fill, 6' parachute for recovery after burst, capsule is 15"x12"x9" styrofoam container with two APRS trackers (KG5AO-8 and K7GPS-11), vertical SD color video camera with GPS overlay to record balloon expansion and burst), SD color video camera on diagonal alignment, and two SD Canon A470 cameras with CHDK-hack recording horizontal imagery every 10 seconds.

Tracker details: K7GPS-11 is a BigRedBee BeeLine 2M all-in-one APRS tracker. KG5AO-8 is a Yaesu Vertex 2M HT, Byonics TinyTrak3 controller, and Garmin E-Trex GPS. Both GPS devices are certified for flight above 60k ft.

Credit: Thanks to members of the Spokane Astronomical Society for their interest, support, and enthusiasm with this project.

PAO Note: KHQ has been contacted and may attend the launch activities.

Related links:

Regards, David K7GPS


David K7GPS said...

Followup the the Oct 16 launch. We had issues with both trackers, so lost track of the ballsat shortly after launch. Fortunately two Idaho elk hunters found it atop the bluff 1.5miles nw of Harrison, ID early Monday morning, two days following the launch from Ritzville.

Here's the flight details:
Launch: Ritzville, 0847PDT, Oct 16
Burst: Alt unk, est. >85kft, near Fairfield, WA, 60 miles downrange, 1012PDT, ~75 degree track.
LZ: 1.5m nw of Harrison, ID, at 1041PDT, 77 miles downrange.
Cameras: Both Canon A640 still cams took over 500 photos each. Small SD video cam, at diagonal, took 1hr video including two passenger jets flying nearby somewhere south of Spokane @~35kft. Vertical bullet camera w/OSD-GPS+ shut down at launch, unknown why, possible RFI from trackers. Pics will be posted on new web site http://nearspace.us

S Erdman said...

Anything you would have done differently? I'm thinking about a similar project.

David K7GPS said...

Yes. We need to delineate responsibility so each person has a specific set of tasks they are responsible for. One person needs to be the Flight Director, with clip board and check list. Unless all the checks are filled, there is no launch. The Flight Ready meeting the night before makes sure there are no changes, additions, deletions to the launch operation, and finally, get at least 2-3 position reports from each of the trackers (ALWAYS use 2 or more)and confirmation before finishing the countdown. Our "check" person could have signaled a problem 20 seconds left on the countdown, but did not. We'll get it much better next go around.