Tuesday, March 19, 2013

To The Edge of The Atmosphere: Attempt 2

A year ago (one day off) I blogged about launching a balloon to 70,000 ft.  Well last Thursday we tried again.

 Vince using an interesting strategy to hold the bottom of the balloon while Pasha starts the inflation. You can also figure out that it was much colder this year from last, it was also incredibly windy.

 Pasha reading on his Kindle while taking his turn holding the bottom of the balloon.

 The point and shoot camera (top left), the video camera (bottom right) and the GPS phone (bottom left) waterproofed in a plastic bag.  Also a bunch of hand warmers to keep the batteries working.

 Me taking my turn holding down the balloon.

 Me just standing around.

The crew carrying the balloon to the top of the hill to release it (from left, Pasha, Mike, Sergey, Max and Vince). We had been releasing a number of party balloons to work out the air currents.

 The last picture the camera took before it was in the air, notice the chute.

 The first picture taken from the air.

 My first picture of the balloon I took after it was off the ground.

 The last picture I have of the balloon without zoom.  It is in this picture, its in the center, and very pixelated.

Last picture I have of the balloon with zoom and pointing at the right point of the sky.

 We launched near a nuclear power plant, and this is a picture from the balloon of the cooling towers.

 Just a nice picture.

I cant really put off letting you know we found the balloon since I am showing you picture from the air.

The highest picture we have.  The balloon popped within a couple of minutes of this picture.  We know when the balloon popped from the camera footage, which was almost entirely blocked by the parachute.  We have a lot of video of the parachute.  And 15 seconds of no chute after the balloon burst, then the battery died.

Here is the tracking data being overlaid on Google maps thanks to a program written by Mike.  We got the landing ping while in a restaurant in the middle of Pennsylvania.

It went far farther than we had anticipated.  It landed about 5 miles as the crow flies from my house, 700 feet from the Raritan River and about 2 miles from the Atlantic ocean.  This information started the hour and a half drive to this point complete with pit stops for flashlights.

This is where the balloon landed.  It is a swamp.  It had about a foot of blown down reeds that you would go right through with a bit of water below.  Max decided that four inches of water was a reasonable depth to step into, his pants said otherwise.

 Sergey clearly didn't make as big a mistake.

The crew with the balloon when we got back to the cars.

Sergey cutting open the box when we got back to his house.

Simply the best thing to do with a popped balloon.

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