AEM 1905: Spaceflight
with Ballooning (Freshmen Seminar)
Balloon Launch page
Page last updated:
Friday, Oct. 29, 2010 -- 11 a.m.
(cell) Activity synopsis:
October 30, 2010 we will launch a large helium-filled
latex weather balloon to lift a "stack"
of experimental payloads and GPS tracking boxes to about 90,000
feet, also known as "Near Space." At the launch site you can
observe ground operations,
examine the payloads and talk to the students who built them, watch
inflation of the balloon, and see the ground GPS
tracking systems. The balloon will be about 8-9 feet in diameter
when released and grow to more than 30 feet in diameter by the time it
bursts. The balloon is expected to be in the air between 1.75
and 2.25 hours. The MN Space Grant ballooning team from the U of
MN and freshman seminar class members will track
the flight using GPS and radio communications and "chase" it into
Wisconsin, to recover the payloads once they return to the ground by
suggest reasonable weather (possibly cloudy but not
too windy nor rainy) on
The balloon (carrying Freshman Seminar payloads) will be released
around 10 a.m.
will start about 8:00 a.m., with filling the balloon and finalizing the
payload stack occuring mostly during the hour prior to launch. If
you want to watch the launch we recommend you arrive no later than 9:00
final; if coming out to the launch, call Saturday morning to confirm):
predictions have been evolving all week. Right now they
suggest a flight of nearly 120 miles east southest from the launch
location, so we are
considering launching from Pierz, MN (about 30 miles north St. Cloud)
so as to land in the
vicinity of Barron, WI. For the
most up-to-date information, call 651-399-2423.
to use the internet to monitor the flight of balloons
which transmit their GPS location using APRS (ham radio) format, as
long as you know the ham radio call sign of the radio(s) on
board. One web site where this can be done is http://aprs.fi/ One transmitter on
the balloon will have the call sign WØJH-11
(both registered to
the Stillwater Amateur Radio Association (SARA ham radio club)).
We also plan to stream video of the launch and telemetry data during
the flight to
and/or to http://www.justin.tv/mn_space_grant2
tracking data on aprs.fi will be close to "live"
whereas there is often a delay (sometimes up to an hour!) between when
we stream information to justin.tv and when it actually appears on
their web site.