A weather balloon built and powered by amateur radio balloon enthusiasts made an epic three-day journey from California to the Mediterranean, splashing down after it apparently burst somewhere off the Algerian coast. The transcontinental transatlantic flight covered a record-shattering 6,236 miles.
The California Near Space Project launched four balloons Sunday, Dec. 11, from a site near Silicon Valley, two of which were high-altitude explorers and two of which were "floaters," long-distance travelers designed to reach a certain altitude and then float with the prevailing winds.
One of the two floaters apparently crashed in southern Indiana, but the second balloon, call sign K6RPT-11, made its way across half the planet. It was last tracked traveling above the Mediterranean, moving 35 MPH at 14,558 feet.
The balloon was a 1,600 gram Hwoyee model carrying a small radio that enabled tracking via the Automatic Position Reporting System. Radio operators in Nova Scotia apparently lost track of the balloon sometime Tuesday, but it reappeared 11 hours later, moving east toward the Azores, according to the Register.
Ron Meadows, 55, and his son, Lee Meadows, 32, both swimming pool service repairmen, have launched several weather balloons in an attempt to break records, as the San Jose Mercury News reports. In October, their latex balloon set a new altitude record by soaring 136,545 feet and beating the previous record-holder, a Cornell University project, by 1,500 feet. The long-distance balloon nearly doubles the range of the previous record-holder, a transatlantic floater that flew 3,361 miles.
metric units please ^^!
bored? lets go mine the stars... ^^
Use a converter.
"....One of the two floaters apparently crashed in southern Indiana...."
What an interesting sentence, considering how high these balloons fly. What did it crash into? Why did it crash? Was it really just loosing gas and eventually hit a low object?
I guess we will never know.
It would be fun to attach smart phones to these. Point the camera down and let it send periodic pictures back to email address as it journeys. Also use internal GPS to help track it. Of course it’s more of a investment lost as the balloon crashes; though we may learn why it crashed.
vt007, the conversions are simple enough:
1 mile is roughly 1.7KM.
1 meter is roughly 3.2 feet.
35MPH = 60KPH
14,500 feet = 4,500 meters
136,545 feet = 42,670 meters
Airliners fly at around 30,000 feet or 10,000 meters.
The edge of space is 100KM, or 62 miles, straight up.
So the floater was floating along at roughly half the altitude an airliner flies at. The high-altitude balloon reached more than 2/3 of the way to the recognized edge of space.
There's no need to use a cell phone to track a balloon - especially when the phone will be travelling over international boundaries, and there's not a cell phone in the world that can run for days and weeks on end and even get a signal over international waters.
The balloon was using a technology known as APRS, or Automatic Position Reporting System, to announce its GPS location to anyone who could listen. Listening is easy enough: APRS messages are sent via packet radio on amateur radio service frequencies. Anyone with a scanner and a computer can decode APRS packets; anyone with a web browser can look up the position of an APRS transmitter.
It's actually a pretty cool technology. Here's the link to the APRS data for the floater balloon:
My suggestion of adding a smart phone was just that, an addition. Keeping the cell phone battery charged, a tiny solar panel would solve this problem to help keep its battery charged. In actually this does at weight and that maybe problematic to this balloon.
I was just brain storming a little to get more information as these balloons travel across country, that's all.
Overall, I find it pretty cool!
I think of several reasons why your proposal would fail.
1 The maximum theoretical coverage of the GSM system is about 30 km, beyond this distance are problems due to the delay of the signal. Remember that the balloon flying high aa 42 km most of the time.
2 The antenna system of telephone stations is intended to cover street level or surrounding buildings, this means that the antennas are "downtilt" so that the only way to hear the globe would be when sticking out the horizon, but that would be a great distance, so it would apply paragraph 1 of this post.
3 º due to already exposed, we are also in broad areas (the Atlantic Ocean), which would not cover, and no possibility of communication.
What it would be plausible, it would be a transmitter of images in a mode called SSTV, which consist of camera, modulator, and trasnmisor, I believe that there were no problems, ideally in the UHF band.
But adding this would create the problem of weight, which would shorten the distance.
Would also consumption. For your information, the positioning system of the globe takes standard batteries type "Used Batteries: 4, Eveready 8X AA Ultimate Lithium."
I hope my comments help.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all.
Also, at least in the US, it's a violation of FCC rules to fly a cell phone in a balloon.
The transmitter used was a BeeLine GPS transmitter operating on 144.390 Mhz. It uses a Trimble Lassen IQ GPS module, and puts out about 1 watt in the configuration used for this flight.
More info here: www.bigredbee.com
eb1dpb & bigredbee,
I apprectiate the extra information you provided!
I'm a teacher and we put a balloon in near space last spring. We made it onto NBC Nightly News: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21134540/vp/43015284
We wanted to ramp it up for this year. I was reading the posts and I'm humbled by the knowledge being shared. Can anyone think of a way to get a live video feed from our camera?