Date   
America’s Challenge balloons eclipse last year’s distances / good misc. balloon facts

Hank Riley
 

[ entire article at Albuquerque Journal website at this link ]


America’s Challenge balloons eclipse last year’s distances

By Rick Nathanson / Journal Staff Writer
Monday, October 9th, 2017 at 7:21pm
Rer100917g
Hydrogen balloons participating in the America’s Challenge Gas Balloon Race begin the lengthy inflation process Saturday afternoon at Balloon Fiesta Park. Eight balloons, each with a team of two people, began launching around 6:30 p.m. Saturday. (ROBERTO E. ROSALES/JOURNAL)

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Nearly all of the balloons competing in the 2017 America’s Challenge Gas Balloon Race eclipsed the distance traveled by last year’s winning team, Peter Cuneo and Barbara Fricke — including Cuneo and Fricke.

Last year, the team traveled 866 miles, setting down west of Hannibal, Mo., after a flight of 54 hours and 39 minutes.

All of the teams this year generally were headed in a northeasterly direction, with many on course to cross the Great Lakes and continue into Canada. All but one had exceeded 1,000 miles by Monday evening.

Winners of the America’s Challenge are determined solely by the distance traveled. The distance record of 1,998 miles was set in 2000 by David and Alan Leven of the United States, said race spokeswoman Kim Vesely.

There are no cash prizes associated with the America’s Challenge Gas Balloon Race; the top three teams from the United States, however, qualify to participate in the Coupe Aeronautique Gordon Bennett, the world’s premier gas balloon distance race. It will be held next year in Switzerland, Vesely said.

Balloons in the America’s Challenge race contain about 37,000 cubic feet of hydrogen gas, about half the volume of a small hot air balloon. They can fly up to 18,000 feet in altitude, according to race rules. Pilots adjust for altitude by releasing ballast — sand from sandbags or water from containers — in order to ascend; they descend by venting gas from the balloon.

The teams sit in open baskets, which do not have to be made from wicker but generally are. They carry enough food and water for the race duration, as well as protective clothing, a camping toilet, a night vision scope, a range finder to determine altitude in the dark, lights, a satellite phone and an emergency locator beacon.


Gas balloon race

Mark Conner N9XTN
 

This could get very interesting.  The two northern balloons are headed into very rugged territory in Quebec and Labrador.  If they maintain altitude, they'll be on the Labrador coast tomorrow morning.  I *presume* they'll land on the coast rather than try anything transatlantic.  

Not a lot of roads to bring a recovery crew in with.

73 de Mark N9XTN





Re: ABQ gas balloon race in progress

Hank Riley
 

Wow, four balloons above 13,000 feet and one, Gas 1, around 15.3 and 15.4 kfeet!

"At cabin altitudes above 14,000 feet pilots must use oxygen at all times."

And most people would want to use oxygen before 13 kFeet, so I guess
many in today's race are fully O2 masked up.

It must be doggone cold, too.  Would like to see what they look like
at altitude with respect to clothing.

Just found this relevant info from the FAQ.  No mention of clothing
or heat sources, if any (doubt any allowed for safety reasons).  Surprising
about the "not hungry" effect.

They’re confined in a very small space for three days of what one pilot
drolly terms “aerial camping.”  Almost all the teams say that since they
are on oxygen and not moving around much, they are seldom hungry.

Hank

Re: Tracker Questions

Jim Reed
 

No changes to the actual the way they work. Sorry about the confusion. They work well.

The billing structure is changing. It is not changing in a way that makes it unaffordable. When the billing structure is changing and we have to commit one way or the other it is time to look at all options once again. It has been a while since we adopted this technology and with all tech things move forward at a very fast speed. We just wanted to see what others are using. We have to make a decision within the next couple of weeks. We will most likely just stay with PF but one never knows what others have had success with. We were given some money this year and we have always discussed others ways to track once on the ground.

Thanks folks!!

On Mon, Oct 9, 2017 at 1:27 PM, Hank Riley n1ltv@... [GPSL] <GPSL-noreply@...> wrote:
 

So, we have been using PocketFinders for our secondary trackers. These
have worked well in the past to find our payloads once on the ground.

The PF has worked well but some of the rules in regards to the PF are changing.
We knew that day would come. 
______________________________________________________________

Jim,

Could you please elaborate just a little about why you're quitting the
PocketFinder system?

I see that 2G is going away, but there's a new device being offered that will still
work (the company claims) for years to come. 

$159 to buy on of those new ones.  Is it because the price has gone up from what the
2G-only device you have now cost?

I'm only guessing from your wording "some of the rules in regards to the PF are
changing" that there may be more to it than just the 2G to 3G transition.

Hank




--

-----------------------------
Classroom Website

High Altitude Balloon Class
First middle school in the world to float a super pressure balloon around the globe.
Nationally recognized STEM program. Winner of Samsung Solve for Tomorrow in 2013.

Re: Tracker Questions

Hank Riley
 

So, we have been using PocketFinders for our secondary trackers. These
have worked well in the past to find our payloads once on the ground.

The PF has worked well but some of the rules in regards to the PF are changing.
We knew that day would come. 
______________________________________________________________

Jim,

Could you please elaborate just a little about why you're quitting the
PocketFinder system?

I see that 2G is going away, but there's a new device being offered that will still
work (the company claims) for years to come. 

$159 to buy on of those new ones.  Is it because the price has gone up from what the
2G-only device you have now cost?

I'm only guessing from your wording "some of the rules in regards to the PF are
changing" that there may be more to it than just the 2G to 3G transition.

Hank

Google’s Internet-Beaming Balloons Will Soon Be Floating Over Puerto Rico

Hank Riley
 


[from www.futurism.com]




Google’s Internet-Beaming Balloons Will Soon Be Floating Over Puerto Rico

Project Loon
In Brief
Google now has FCC permission to deploy its Project Loon balloons to Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. The balloons partner with local telecom companies to provide LTE coverage after disasters.

Project Loon to the Rescue

Google has received a license from the FCC to deploy its Project Loon balloons over Puerto Rico and parts of the Virgin Islands. Google will be able to provide coverage there until April 4, 2018. If all goes according to plan, the helium balloons will provide emergency LTE cellular reception to local governments and residents, allowing them to contact family and friends. It will also enable them to reestablish communication with the outside world and manage relief efforts. At the time of writing, it is uncertain how much of Puerto Rico will be covered, which areas of the Virgin Islands will be covered, or how many balloons Google will deploy.

__________TWEET from FCC Chief of Staff_______________


BREAKING: FCC issues experimental license to Google to provide emergency
cellular service in Puerto Rico through Project Loon balloons.

______________________________________________________

This will not be the first time Google has sent its helium LTE coverage providers to assist in the wake of a disaster; the balloons gave Peruvians coverage after extreme flooding wiped out power and has also tested disaster relief initiatives in France, Brazil, New Zealand, Indonesia, and Sri Lanka. However, in Peru the problem was simpler because Google was already working together with a local telecom provider to provide disaster relief, so the structure for getting signals to and from the balloons was already in place.

As Google and Project Loon arrive in Puerto Rico, they’ll be starting with nothing in place. At this point, Puerto Rico’s telecom companies may not be able to formally partner with Google and provide any resources toward this collaboration, but obviously Google intends to make connectivity happen if it can. In a statement to Engadget, Google’s Alphabet X lab, home to Project Loon, said partnership with local telecom networks is critical to success: “To deliver signal to people’s devices, Loon needs be integrated with a telco partner’s network — the balloons can’t do it alone. We’ve been making solid progress on this next step and would like to thank everyone who’s been lending a hand.”

Meeting the Challenge

Project Loon uses its balloon network at 65,000 feet in the air to receive signals from a telecom partners on the ground, and then sends them to cellphone users. According to Mashable, the Peruvian project leader said the balloons sent 160 GB of data as they floated over an area about the size of Sweden, “enough data to send and receive around 30 million WhatsApp messages, or 2 million emails.”

Image Credit: Google/X Company, Project Loon

After Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico’s infrastructure, more than 75 percent of its cellphone towers remain offline, and power has yet to be restored to almost 90 percent of the island. The situation remains fairly desperate for the island and its 3.5 million inhabitants, who are American citizens. Hopefully this initiative will prove successful.

Re: ABQ gas balloon race in progress

Hank Riley
 

Joe >  How far is the finish line?

There is no finish line. 


Google is your friend.   :)

From the excellent FAQ at the excellent web site for this event, the America’s Challenge Race for Gas Balloons (Albuquerque):

What is the America’s Challenge Gas Balloon Race? The America’s Challenge is one of two distance races for gas balloons in the world.  The other is the Coupe Aéronatique Gordon Bennett, the world’s oldest air race, founded in 1906.  The America’s Challenge was founded by the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta in 1995 to provide a consistent American venue for gas ballooning.  The results of the America’s Challenge are used to determine the qualifying U.S. pilots for the next year’s Gordon Bennett.

How do you win? It’s simple: the winner is the team that flies the greatest distance (measured in Great Circle distance) from the launch point, Balloon Fiesta Park in Albuquerque, while competing within the event rules.    


Re: ABQ gas balloon race in progress

Joe WB9SBD
 

How far is the finish line?

Joe WB9SBD

The Original Rolling Ball Clock
Idle Tyme
Idle-Tyme.com
http://www.idle-tyme.com

Tracker Questions

Jim Reed
 

So, we have been using PocketFinders for our secondary trackers. These have worked well in the past to find our payloads once on the ground. When travelling with 20 kids it is not always possible to be right under the balloon as it comes back to Earth. The PF has worked well but some of the rules in regards to the PF are changing. We knew that day would come. 

So, we are now on the lookout for a new secondary tracker. We want something that uses cellular connectivity. An app to shows its location would be wonderful. If the app "called" us when on the ground that feature would be fantastic. A subscription service would be OK as long as we could turn it on and off when we wanted the service. 

Anybody want to offer some suggestions? We use the BRB as our primary and they work great. Most times we are able to have one tracking vehicle with a couple adults and then can drive as they see fit. This allows them to be closer to the actual balloon and payload as it makes it's way home.

Thanks folks for any ideas or suggestions you may have.

Jim

--

-----------------------------
Classroom Website

High Altitude Balloon Class
First middle school in the world to float a super pressure balloon around the globe.
Nationally recognized STEM program. Winner of Samsung Solve for Tomorrow in 2013.

ABQ gas balloon race in progress

Mark Conner N9XTN
 

GPSL 2018

L. Paul Verhage KD4STH
 

The dates for GPSL will be June 14th to 16th. 

One the 14th, we will wine taste three Snake River Wine Region wineries and get lunch at one of our local Mexican restaurants.

Friday's conference will be held at Northwest Nazarene University in Nampa. Dinner will be held in the Basque Block in Boise.

Saturday's launch will be determined about a week before based on the winds and weather.

Re: Near Space Saying

Leo Bodnar <leo@...>
 

In Australia they went there yesterday too.

On 7 Oct 2017, at 04:26, 'L. Paul Verhage' nearsys@... [GPSL] wrote:

 

Near space, where balloons go to die.


Near Space Saying

L. Paul Verhage KD4STH
 

Near space, where balloons go to die.

Launch and Recovery

Nick
 

GPSL’ers,

 

Thought you all would enjoy the notes below and the video below from Mercer University.

 

73,

Nick

NØLP

EOSS

 

 

Begin forwarded  message:

 

 

Hi EOSS friends (please share this with others if you think they might enjoy), 

 

The link below shows the eclipse launch and flight of the Mercer University team.

 

Aside from the launch being SO calm and gentle compared to ours, their recover was insane.

 

If you’d rather not watch the whole thing, recovery starts about 5:30 into the video.

 

Enjoy and I hope y’all are having a great week

 

Take Care,

Berna

 

 

Begin forwarded second message:

 

From: Anthony Choi <CHOI_TA@...>

Subject: RE: ISO Eclipse Day Launch Footage with audible countdown

Date: October 3, 2017 at 5:4

Here is a countdown and launch video for Mercer University.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LNHKFkwueOk&feature=youtu.be

 

Regards,

 

Anthony

 

Anthony Choi, Ph.D

Director of Machine Intelligence and Robotics Laboratory (MIRL)

Assoc. Professor of Electrical & Computer Engineering

Mercer University School of Engineering

http://faculty.mercer.edu/choi_ta/

https://www.facebook.com/groups/MercerRoboticsClub/

 

 

Re: Fw: Big balloon

Hank Riley
 

Telescope technical details (from the photographer, John, AF7JQ):

"Scope is a Meade LX90-ACF 12", eyepiece a 24mm plossel, I think about 77x at f:10"


That 12 inch measurement is the aperture.  This is not an inexpensive telescope.
Pretty close on the power; it's actually 83x.

Hank

Re: Fw: Big balloon

Hank Riley
 

Entire article and a video clip at :

https://www.geekwire.com/2017/world-view-sends-stratollite-test-balloon-spaceport-tucson-first-time/

World View launches ‘Stratollite’ balloon from Spaceport Tucson for the first time

by Alan Boyle on October 1, 2017 at 3:02 pm

Balloon launchA high-altitude balloon is inflated in preparation for World View’s launch from Spaceport Tucson in Arizona. (World View Photo)

World View Enterprises today executed its first balloon liftoff from Spaceport Tucson, the Arizona facility that it expects will be the home base for satellite-like “Stratollite” missions to the stratosphere — and, eventually, tourist flights as well.

“Spaceport Tucson, the first-ever purpose-built stratospheric launch facility in the world, is now open for business,” World View co-founder and CEO Jane Poynter said in a news release.

World View operates the facility on behalf of Arizona’s Pima County, which built the headquarters and production building as well as a 700-foot-wide circular balloon launch pad under the terms of a $15 million deal struck in 2016. That deal has been the subject of legal wrangling for more than a year.

Poynter said the Federal Aviation Administration recently issued a Certificate of Authorization to World View for balloon launches, opening the way for today’s inaugural test.

The test’s primary objective was to rehearse mission control protocols for future flights from Spaceport Tucson, located south of Tucson International Airport.


Re: Fw: Big balloon

Bill Brown
 

Nice photos. That sure looks like the latest WorldView launch which was in the news Tuesday. It was launched from their new headquarters in Tucson, AZ.

- Bill WB8ELK


-----Original Message-----
From: 'Jack Crabtree' jscra@... [GPSL]
To: GPSL
Sent: Tue, Oct 3, 2017 5:30 pm
Subject: [GPSL] Fw: Big balloon

 

------ Forwarded Message --------
From: Gary Miller <ggmillerr@...>
Date: 10/3/2017 12:09:17 PM
Subject: Fw: Big balloon
To: Jack Crabtree <jscra@...>
Here are a couple of pics that John took of a balloon that was flying in his area yesterday.  He wanted you to see it.  He took the pics through his new telescope using the phone camera up against the eyepiece.  I see similarity of the payload with the "WorldView" payload in this link  World View Enterprises   Scroll down a little on the web page.   See ya this afternoon... Gary




----- Forwarded Message -----
From: John Rathbun <n0izh@...>
To: Gary Miller <gmiller@...>
Sent: Tuesday, October 3, 2017, 11:49:36 AM MST
Subject: Big balloon





I found a couple shots with more detail, I don"t have Jack's email...could you forward them to him please?

Re: Fw: Big balloon

Joe WB9SBD
 

Looks like earthwinds and my earth breeze technology!

Joe WB9SBD

The Original Rolling Ball Clock
Idle Tyme
Idle-Tyme.com
http://www.idle-tyme.com

On 10/3/2017 5:30 PM, 'Jack Crabtree' jscra@... [GPSL] wrote:

------ Forwarded Message --------
From: Gary Miller
Date: 10/3/2017 12:09:17 PM
Subject: Fw: Big balloon
To: Jack Crabtree

Here are a couple of pics that John took of a balloon that was flying in his area yesterday.  He wanted you to see it.  He took the pics through his new telescope using the phone camera up against the eyepiece.  I see similarity of the payload with the "WorldView" payload in this link  World View Enterprises   Scroll down a little on the web page.   See ya this afternoon... Gary




----- Forwarded Message -----
From: John Rathbun
To: Gary Miller
Sent: Tuesday, October 3, 2017, 11:49:36 AM MST
Subject: Big balloon





I found a couple shots with more detail, I don"t have Jack's email...could you forward them to him please?


Fw: Big balloon

Jack Crabtree
 


------ Forwarded Message --------
From: Gary Miller
Date: 10/3/2017 12:09:17 PM
Subject: Fw: Big balloon
To: Jack Crabtree

Here are a couple of pics that John took of a balloon that was flying in his area yesterday.  He wanted you to see it.  He took the pics through his new telescope using the phone camera up against the eyepiece.  I see similarity of the payload with the "WorldView" payload in this link  World View Enterprises   Scroll down a little on the web page.   See ya this afternoon... Gary




----- Forwarded Message -----

From: John Rathbun
To: Gary Miller
Sent: Tuesday, October 3, 2017, 11:49:36 AM MST
Subject: Big balloon





I found a couple shots with more detail, I don"t have Jack's email...could you forward them to him please?

Terrible Towel hitch hike?

Keith Kaiser, WA0̷TJT
 

Can someone reach out to Emmett with a solution?

Thanks guys..

Begin forwarded message:

From: Emmett Newsome <emmettnewsome@...>
Subject: Terrible Towel hitch hike?
Date: October 2, 2017 at 2:31:52 PM CDT

Hi Keith,

My name is Emmett Newsome, I collect Terrible Towels and have for a few years now wanted to hitch hike a ride with a high altitude balloon launch  and send a Terrible Towel to the edge of space.

My first question is: Is this something that is even possible?  The towel could be used as insulation and not really cargo or main subject of the launch..

My second question is: How do I contact someone that I could send a towel to.. My plan (again if possible) is to print a custom towel with the flight logo and info. And have it framed with some photos after returning.

Thank you for your time. I hope I can add a space towel to my collection!

Emmett Newsome

.

Keith, WA0̷TJT