I’m happy to announce that we had a major success last weekend. My friend launched a weather balloon carrying a GPS and an Arduino computer programmed to cut the cable on the balloon at 20,000 m (~66,000 ft). This launch, designated Jake 6, carried out its mission perfectly. The payload separated from the balloon 20 kilometres above the snow-covered Minnesota landscape, then parachuted down for a safe landing in a tree. The descent was a little scary as we watched our payload parallel, then cross the Mississippi River! We knew it was about to land, and it would have been a very poor ending to the day to have it splash down in the brutally cold water.
Click here for a video of the flight! A good photo taken from the air is below:
What went right:
-Successful cutdown at 20 kilometers.
-Detailed GPS data of the flight
What went wrong:
-The GPS did not get a fix until about 10 kilometers above the ground, which means we lost some data on the ascent
-The camera was accidentally programmed to take RAW format images, which means it ran out of memory at around 10 kilometres. Still got some cool pics though!
-Our faithful parachute had to be left behind in the tree, despite my friend’s valiant recovery of the payload box