My friends and I launched the high-altitude weather balloon today. This morning at 5:00 AM, we set out to drive down to our launch site. A bit of scouting later, and we had found a nice quiet spot to launch. At about 10:15 AM, the fog burned off and we got our balloon off the ground.
Anyway, quite a few things here didn’t go to plan. If you were following me on Twitter, you noticed a few things:
- The balloon went North instead of East. We ended up in Henry Coe State Park rather than the central valley, as we had planned. This is an issue because our landing site in Henry Coe is much harder to reach, as the terrain is much more rugged.
- The balloon had very little buoyancy. I had thought it would be useful to have the balloon rise slowly so that it could make its way over the hills, but it seems like it was far too slow. We were planning on a 3 hour flight-time and we ended up with something like 5 or 6 hours in the air. I don’t know yet how our experiments and imaging responded to the longer mission.
- Telemetry failed to function on the ground. We were relying solely on digipeaters to relay our information to the internet and then to us.
- We were not able to recover the payload today. We’ll be looking a bit more closely tomorrow for the payload, and we’re all still quite hopeful that we’ll find the thing.
All in all, it was a very fun experience. Hopefully we’ll recover our payload — stay tuned for updates.