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Minne-HALO (4-Balloon Network) Launch page

James Flaten, MN Space Grant

Page last updated:  Saturday, Nov. 6, 2010 -- 6 a.m.

Contact information:    James Flaten    651-399-2423 (cell)

Activity synopsis:  On Saturday, November 6, 2010 we will launch 4 large helium-filled latex weather balloons from 3 different locations to lift "stacks" of experimental payloads and GPS tracking boxes to about 90,000 feet, also known as "Near Space."  At a 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 balloons will be about 8-9 feet in diameter when released and grow to more than 30 feet in diameter by the time they burst.  The balloons are expected to be in the air about 2 hours each.  The MN Space Grant ballooning team from the U of MN -- Twin Cities plus people from Concordia College, U of MN -- Morris, Saint Catherine University, and Augsburg College will track the flight using GPS and radio communications and "chase" them to recover the payloads once they return to the ground by parachute.

Weather update:  Weather predictions for Saturday morning are good, though the flights will go mostly south (which is a bit unusual).

Launch #1: 8:30 a.m. planned release from 20 to 30 miles east of Sandstone, MN (possibly just short of the border with Wisconsin).  Expected to fly about 60 miles mostly south, landing near Barron, WI about 10:30 a.m.  Contact:  Erick Agrimson, Saint Catherine University, 651-245-1755 (cell)

Launch #2: 9:00 a.m. planned release from Morris, MN.  Expected to fly about 50 miles south by southeast, landing 10 miles east of Montevideo, MN about 11:00 a.m.  Contact:  Gordon McIntosh, U of MN -- Morris, 320-287-1828 (cell)

Launch #3: 9:00 a.m. planned release from about 30 miles west of Fargo, NM.  Expected to fly about 50 miles south by southeast, landing 10 miles north of Wahpeton, ND about 11:00 a.m.  Contact:  Paul Seifert, Concordia College, 701-261-0626 (cell)

Launch #4: Same location as launch #1 except 9:30 a.m. planned release, so landing near Barron, WI about 11:30 a.m.  Contact:  James Flaten, U of MN -- Twin Cities, 651-399-2423 (cell)

Internet tracking:  It is possible 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  The call signs will be WØJH-11 for balloon #1, WØJH-12  for balloon #4 (both registered to the Stillwater Amateur Radio Association (SARA ham radio club)), KDØMVU for balloon #2, and KCØNSR-3 for balloon #3..  We may be able to stream video of the launch and/or some of the telemetry data during the flight to http:/// and/or to .  Note:  APRS tracking data on will be close to "live" whereas there is often a delay (sometimes up to an hour!) between when we stream information to and when it actually appears on their web site.



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