EMDRC High Altitude Balloon Launch – Go/NoGo 3rd September 2022

The EMDRC High Altitude Balloon team got together on the 3rd of September 2022 at 2100 on discord to confirm Go/No-Go for the High Altitude Balloon Launch scheduled for the 4th of September 2022, with a backup launch scheduled for the 11th of September (weather, etc.).

The EMDRC HAB Launch prep session for the 3rd of September 2022 was attended by –

  1. Rohan VK3TRO (Absent, but confirmed participation in launch activities scheduled for the 4th of Sep)
  2. Mark VK3MD
  3. Mark VK3IRV
  4. Brad VK3BKQ
  5. John VK3PZ
  6. Mark VK5QI
  7. Trevor W VK3TWC
  8. Rory VK3ASY
  9. Andrew Buttery
  10. Chris Gommersall VK3PLS
  11. Trystan J (Absent, but confirmed participation in launch activities scheduled for the 4th of Sep)

The team reviewed the environmental parameters, predicted flight path, equipment readiness and agreed that we are GO for the launch scheduled for the 4th of September 2022 at 1000 Hrs.

Updated modelling and forecast for the launch are as follows –

Parachute Descent Rate Calculator
Balloon Burst Estimator
Predicted flight path

Key launch variables include (updated as of 3rd September 2022) –

  1. Scientific balloon – Hwoyee 500
  2. Parachute – 36 inch spherachute
  3. Gas – Pure helium gas
  4. Weight of payload – 500 gm [350gm for Styrofoam box with pi, batteries, camera + 95gm for reprogrammed RS 41 radio sonde + 55gm parachute]
  5. Ascent rate – 5.5 m/s
  6. Descent rate – 3.51 m/s
  7. Burst Altitude – 29,326m (29.3 Km)
  8. Payload & radios – Styrofoam box with the following :
    1. Raspberry Pi Zero with a camera
    2. Lora board connected to the Pi Zero W for purposes of streaming images (over Wenet)
    3. 1/4th Ground plane antenna
    4. Re-flashed Bureau of Meteorology Radiosonde (RS41) with the HORUS binary
  9. Launch date – 4th of September with 11th of September 2022 as backup
  10. Launch location – Centenary Park Oval, Ararat
  11. Launch time – 1000 Hrs AEST with recovery to be performed soon after
  12. Frequencies in use –
    1. Wenet (image transmission) frequency : 441.200 Mhz
    2. HORUS (RS 41) frequency : 434.200 Mhz
    3. Simplex for comms – 146.525 Mhz
  13. Frequencies for monitoring (NO TRANSMISSION ALLOWED)-
    1. YARA (Ararat Aerodrome) CTAF for monitoring prior to release of balloon – 126.7 Mhz
    2. YARA (Ararat Aerodrome) Melbourne FSS (Melbourne Center) for monitoring prior to release of balloon – 126.8 Mhz

The team has shared responsibilities for many of the launch activities. Here’s a view of ownership of the various tasks –

  1. Rohan A / VK3TRO – Payload design & build + Part of the launch and recovery team
  2. Mark / VK3IRV – Design & build of Yagi antenna + Raspberry Pi to track Wenet and Sonde payload
  3. Brad Q / VK3BKQ – Design & build of Yagi antenna + Raspberry Pi to track Wenet and Sonde payload
  4. Trevor W / VK3TWC – Strategy, logistics, communications, media, etc. + Part of the launch and recovery team
  5. Rory / VK3ASY – Payload design & build + Part of the launch and recovery team
  6. Greg Boyles – Design & build of the filling apparatus + Part of the launch and recovery team
  7. Chris Gommersall (Soon to be christened VK3PLS) – Design & build of the filling apparatus + Part of the launch and recovery team
  8. Trystan J – Payload design & build + Part of the launch and recovery team
  9. Andrew B – Part of the launch and recovery team
  10. Mark / VK3MD – Part of the launch and recovery team
  11. John / VK3PZ – Part of the launch and recovery team
  12. Jack B / VK3WWW – Part of the launch and recovery team

You are all invited to come, be part of the launch on the 4th of September 2022. We have agreed to meet at Centenary Park, Ararat at 0830 with a view to kick off launch prep at 0900. If everything goes as per plan the balloon, payload would be released at 1000 Hrs. You are invited to join us for the chase, recover the payload soon after. The launch site is at Ararat which is a ~2.5 hr drive from the heart of Melbourne and we will be launching at the agreed time, so plan out your day and set out early if you intend to be there for the launch.

Software you need to track the High Altitude Balloon we are launching.

  1. Project HORUS Chasemapper – Plot your position on a map relative to the balloon using a Raspberry Pi and GPS
  2. Project Horus horusdemodlib – Plot a reprogrammed radiosonde used as a payload for Amateur High Altitude Balloons
  3. Project HORUS Horusgui – Windows software to track a reprogrammed radiosonde used as a payload for Amateur High Altitude Balloons
  4. See images being broadcasted in real-time from the balloon – https://ssdv.habhub.org/
  5. Link to track the Horus payload in real time – Sondehub

Read more about High Altitude Ballooning and get started with your own High Altitude Balloon journey at https://hack2.live/high-altitude-ballooning/

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