[aprssig] Another APRS Balloon Launch Saturday 12 Feb 2011 1600 UTC

Stephen H. Smith wa8lmf2 at aol.com
Fri Feb 11 03:09:10 EST 2011

The California Near Space Project


will launch another high-altitude record attempt APRS balloon this Saturday 12 
Feb 2011 AT 8:00 am Pacific Standard Time (1600 UTC). Again the launch will be 
from San Jose, CA.

The WA8LMF LiveTrack site will be tracking this one starting Saturday morning. 
Until then, the track of last Saturday's attempt will remain on the site at:


The attempt last Saturday (5 Feb) had an unusual balloon failure mode. The 
balloon didn't burst at maximum altitude, and plummet rapidly back to earth as 
these balloons usually do. Instead it developed a slow leak and descended 
rather gently into the Pacific Ocean about 25 miles off Big Sur, CA. It was not 
recovered. The UIview/HeightTrack plot on the website shows quite clearly the 
unusually slow descent.

"California Near Space Project - News Update February 8, 2011

We would like to thank CNSP team members and the Stratofox tracking and 
recovery teams who participated in the K6RPT-13 launch on February 5, 2011.

When we rolled the out the 3000 gram balloon to start the fill, we noticed it 
had very inconsistent color and translucent areas with one large patch that 
looked like it was thicker and less translucent. We were very concerned about 
the quality of the balloon.Although concerned, we’ve heard about inconsistent 
color from other balloon groups as being ok, so we decided to go ahead and 
launch it.

Our new system for weighing the balloon’s free lift worked well, and we 
launched K6RPT-13 around 7:55 a.m. The APRS tracking was sending packets every 
60 seconds and the flight reached an altitude of 107,116 feet. At that point 
the balloon must have developed a hole as it started descending at 3,000 fpm. A 
normal decent after a burst would have been 10,000 fpm.

After looking at all the flight data, and considering the balloon’s 
inconsistent color and translucent areas, we feel the balloon was defective.

We have another 3000 gram balloon in stock, and we have worked all weekend to 
build a new payload box and APRS tracker for another high altitude attempt 
(K6RPT-15). CNSP is prepared to launch next Saturday, February 12, at 8 a.m.

The launch will take place at Precision Tune Auto Care 4954 Almaden Expressway 
- San Jose, CA 95118 (located next to Safeway). Precision Tune Auto Care will 
be opening their garage at 7:00 a.m. to allow CNSP to fill the weather balloon 

The flight prediction is showing that it would land in Central Valley.If you 
are up for another launch, please email Don Ferguson at KD6IRE at donferguson.net 
<mailto:KD6IRE at donferguson.net>as he will be coordinating the tracking and 
recovery teams. "



Stephen H. Smith wa8lmf (at) aol.com
EchoLink Node: WA8LMF or 14400 [Think bottom of the 2M band]
Skype: WA8LMF
Home Page: http://wa8lmf.net

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