Willunga High School 2017 Launch Data

L. Paul Verhage KD4STH

The First BalloonSats Without Borders flight took place in Australia yesterday. Here's a short reply about the flight.

I'm now in search of another place to launch. Is anyone from the other side of the Atlantic interested in swapping experiments to fly?
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: "Mark Jessop" <vk5qi@...>
Date: Dec 7, 2017 2:06 AM
Subject: Willunga High School 2017 Launch Data
To: "Michael Osborn" <Michael.Osborn@...>, "L. Paul Verhage" <nearsys@...>

Hi Michael, Paul,

Today's launch went very well! 

We launched right ahead of a cold front that was moving in, which threatened to make the flight challenging. During my drive to the launch site I encountered large areas of showers, however the Willunga area stayed clear for quite a while. 
The winds did start to pick up during launch preparations, but were not strong enough to make the launch difficult. We ended up with a total payload mass (combined across the 2x telemetry payloads, 1x Wenet imagery payload, and the BalloonSat) of approximately 1300g.

If I remember correctly, the data recorder was activated about 10 minutes prior to launch. Unfortunately I'm not sure either Michael or I got the exact time.

The flight proceeded pretty much as planned, with an average ascent rate of 5.2m/s. The payload's ground speed was observed to reach 200kph at some points during the flight. The balloon was cut away at just under the predicted burst altitude of 30km, in an attempt to bring the landing site closer towards the Dukes Highway, a major highway running through the region. The maximum altitude was 29949m. 

The descent rate was faster than expected, around 10m/s on landing. This turned out to be due to one of the payloads tangling with the parachute, causing it to not open completely. This brought the landing location a bit further away from the highway, and made the descent portion of the flight too fast for the lone chase team (me + friend) to get to the landing site in time to watch the landing. 

We arrived about 20 minutes after landing to find the payload in a large, recently cropped field, about 200m from a road. Shortly after we departed, the cold front arrived and the rain started - we had recovered just in time!

All the payloads are in good condition, in spite of the faster-than-expected landing. I've made a copy of the video and pictures off the balloonsat payload, and have also copied off the locally-stored Wenet imagery. 
I noted that the video camera filled up its 8GB SD card not long after burst (judging from the footage), so a larger SD card would probably be needed to capture the entire flight. 

The live Wenet imagery didn't perform too well, mainly because the only receiver was the one in my chase car, and that had lots of issues with mobile signal flutter. As the launch was in the middle of the week, we weren't able to have a stationary listener. You can see the impact of the missed packets on the live imagery page here: http://ssdv.habhub.org/VK5ARG  (scroll down to see the images which are missing many packets)
All the Wenet payload images were saved to SD card anyway, so I was able to recover them after landing.

I've uploaded telemetry information, some screenshots of the flight path, and a few images from the Wenet imagery payload to DropBox here:

I don't have a fast enough net connection to upload the video anywhere, so that will have to come later.

Mark Jessop
Project Horus