Another place. A different time. A wondrous occasion. August 21st, 2017 is a date we’ll never forget. Where were you when the moon obscured the sun? There are many answers, one to each person, but for our team of fifteen individuals, that place was a cozy little town called Dayville, Oregon.
Our team was able to retrieve fantastic pictures from both the payload and our ground telescopes. Although there where a few complications during the event. The major problem was that our balloons ascended too fast causing the balloons to burst moments before totality. We believe that this was caused by the lack of wind, high atmospheric pressure and low humidity, resulting in weather conditions that did not slow the ascent of our balloon as usual. The conditions were too ideal!
Our contribution to Google’s Megamovie project was a major success. We obtained hundreds of magnificent pictures from our two telescopes. We were able to capture photos beginning at first contact and ending at fourth contact, even capturing images of the elusive Bailey’s beads and Diamond ring effect. All thanks to the help of the wonderful John Bunyan and Dave Bloomsness.
Due to the lack of wind our payloads landed very close to our launch location, this does not mean that the retrieval was an easy task. The Tornado Payload was found on the ground about half a mile off a dirt road making the retrieval on this payload fairly easy. The Eagle Payload was much more difficult to recover, due to it being stuck in a tree down the steep slope of a mountain. We tried many different ways to retrieve this payload, from throwing rocks at it, to trying to cut the tree down with a small hatchet. We were able to retrieve the payload by using a dead tree to hook it, and bring it safely to the ground.
This has been a truly amazing project to be part of, and we can not wait until the next eclipse. We would like to thank everyone for all the support and keeping up with the project. From ours to yours: See you, Space Cowboys!
On August 15th Robert Black and Reyna Kirschel were interviewed about the High Altitude Balloon project by The Valley 106.3 hosted by Paul Gerardi. Its a ten minute interview talking about: Possible risks during the balloon trip that might befall the team, the various roles the students play in the trip, the other various projects that are planned to be happening, and how to view the total solar eclipse through stream from the balloon team.
The August test launch was a success. We launched from Science Works, Ashland, and the payload landed in Ruch, just past Jacksonville! It landed in an inconvenient location on the side of a mountain. We made it a goal to capture the balloon bursting in video, and we succeeded and the balloon reached an altitude of 96,000 feet!
On July 10th Robert Black and Emily Christiansen were interviewed about the High Altitude Balloon project by The Valley 106.3 hosted by Paul Gerardi. Its an 8 minute stress free interview uploaded on sound cloud. They go over the science behind the eclipse, the streaming technology, the day of the eclipse, the time for the eclipse across the united states, and other projects associated with the balloon project. All answers and questions were precise and to the point. This is a great summary of what our project has been about.
Tuesday, June 21st, our team had launched our video and Iridium payloads from NASA in order to test our ground station as well as our video. Despite some difficulty, we were able to get a balloon launched and get a live video feed. We retrieved the payload just before the climb to Fish Lake just off Highway 140. It landed on the C2 Cattle Company’s land. We were helped by ranch hand Danny, who happily helped us retrieve it from an oak tree.
Ground team system check
Setting up the ground station antenna
Our new dual tank regulator system, made courtesy of Mr. Ponzoha. Thank you! Ground team manually tracking the payload
Chance and John getting ready for the Mega Movie project
The balloon just after being released
A view of the valley a few minutes after launch
A shot of the sun from our video payload around 50,000 feet
Nick in the black berry thicket surrounding the oak trees
Danny coming in on his quad
Nick climbing the tree and cutting down the payload.
Removing the payload from the brambles
Team dog, Lucy
Retrieval team plus Danny on the C2 ranch with Casey holding the video payload
There have been three news stories that have recently featured our team, and our most recent launch. Two of the articles were posted on KOBI-TV channel 5 and one can be seen on News 10. It is a huge honor to work with these two channels, and we can’t wait to work with them more!
The first two articles are from KOBI and the third is from News 10.
Sunday, June 4th, we had a test launch. The payloads featured were our imaging, and our lucky SPOT tracker, weighing 1.25 Kilograms. We had an ascent rate of 3.6 meters per second, and the flight lasted a total of three hours and fifteen minutes. We made it a goal to break an altitude of 100,000 feet, and we succeeded with a burst altitude of 113,000 feet! We found our payload thanks to our SPOT tracker just 14 miles north-east of Chiloquin. We got some very neat pictures, some of which can be seen below!
This was taken near our maximum altitude of 113,000 feet. Left, you can make out Crater Lake and Wizard Island. What a sight!
Another photo of Crater Lake from a much lower altitude. Notice the glow of the atmosphere!A great view of some mountains, including Brown Mountain, Pelican Mountain, and Mount McLoughlin!A view of our entire school. (North Medford High School). This was taken shortly after the balloon was released.
A view of the city of Medford.The payload coming in for a landing just north of Chiloquin.
As our valued readers may know, the North Medford High School high Altitude Balloon team is but one of many teams participating in the eclipse project across the nation. While many of us are able to fund the majority of our operations through grants from organizations like Science Works, the Oregon Space Grant Consortium, and Montana State University, there are still other things our team and others would like to do after the eclipse has occurred. Our team plans to send representatives to the 8th Annual Academic High-Altitude Conference in Minnesota. We would be enthused if you could help us by alleviating some of the financial burden of this trip so that we can share our experiences with our fellow ballooners. See below for the national GoFundMe page: