Project Horus High altitude balloon project


Launch of Horus 2

On Monday the 8th of March we launched Horus 2 - the weather was very poor, and combined with other factors, this resulted in a less than satisfactory launch. Once we'd waited for a break in the wind & rain to let the balloon go, we realized that it was underfilled & didn't have the lift we'd wanted - the balloon was only ascending at 1m/s. With the high winds, the balloon was moving faster than we could keep up.

Within 45 minutes, we realized the balloon had stopped ascending (at around 1500m) & was coming down very slowly - and still racing away from us at 80km/h. Fortunately, thanks to those listening in & some contact via the local repeaters, we still had a good idea where it was and we kept chasing it - eventually recovering it in a tree with the balloon still inflated here.

It looks as though the polystyrene payload and parachute absorbed enough water in the rain to negate the small amount of lift provided by the balloon, and the payload slowly came down, where it was dragged along the ground by the wind for some time, until it wound up in a tree.

Given the balloon didn't reach the minimum altitude for the higher baud rates to kick in (5km), the launch was not a great success - though it was certainly a learning experience for us, and we wont be making the same mistakes next time.

I apologize to everybody who tuned in to help us track the payload or helped out in some other way for the rather disappointing launch.

I'm planning on re-launching the same payload soon with a few improvements - will keep the blog updated!

In other news, my boards have arrived from BatchPCB, and I've put together the first prototype of my Isis flight computer. Testing is looking very positive so far - the FSA03 Ublox 5 module is excellent.

Isis v1.0

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