Dayville Launch August 23rd, 2016

This launch was done in preparation for the final launch that will take place on August 21st, 2017. We did this launch in a tiny little town called Fox behind this charming church. Fox is about an hour or so outside of Dayville which is where we stayed during the three days we were there.

Our goals for this launch were:

  • To reach 100,000 ft. for the first time
  • To have two payload boxes successfully launch
  • To have a successful launch
  • To have three cameras in the top payload box. One facing the side, the top, and another on the bottom of the payload. The one on the top would be set to video and would record the balloon bursting.
  • To use the one of the two 2,000g balloons that we had
  • Have the payload be roughly 4lbs

This launch was a bit different from the others for a few reasons:

  1.  We used a 2,000g balloon
  2. We had three cameras rather than one
  3.  One of the cameras was recording
  4.  We were out in the desert

In order to be a bit more organized, we all split into three teams: The launch team, the tracking team, and the retrieval team. The launch team would launch the balloon and would then use the coordinates that were coming in from the SPOT tracker to go find the balloon. The tracking team would help track the balloon’s progress and report to both the launch and retrieval team. The retrieval team would use the predicted flight path that was generated that morning and use the last GPS coordinate that was on the predicted flight path and go there to video the balloon coming down.

With all of our teams ready to go, we lift off!

Overall, the launch was our most successful launch so far. We got the best pictures we have ever gotten. The BEST pictures. We owe those pictures to our mentor, John, Saxon and Apoorva, as well as one of the parents, Jamey.

The basic flight data:

  • Average ascent rate: 8.33 m/s
  • Maximum altitude: 22355 m (or about 76,000 ft.)
  • Time to burst: 42 minutes
  • Average descent rate: 13.29 m/s
  • Descent time: 26 minutes

Even though it was a successful launch, there were some setbacks. The 2,000 g balloon prematurely burst at 76,000 ft, the top camera facing the balloon did not get any video, and the SD cards in the IMU did not collect any data. However, these can be fixed once we have found the sources of error and therefore the next launch will be even more successful!

We also made some very important friends who will help us greatly in the upcoming year. We will be collaborating with Jim Latshaw, the science teacher at Dayville High, and Dennis, the owner of the R.V. park. They were incredibly kind and spectacular, and we are very grateful to be working with them.

Our goals for the future:

  • Reach 100,000 ft.
  • Have a camera facing the balloon and have it video the entire time
  • Have the SD cards in the IMU collect data
  • Do some tethered and practice launches with the NASA payload

The upcoming year is going to be very exciting and filled with lots of launches!