NS craft is displayed on a moving map that is stored in
software. Your NS craft is displayed, in addition to your
crew, as they chase it, in addition to all of the roads in
between its location and yours.
FAR 101 is the Federal Aviation Regulation, Chapter
101. FAR 101 is the bible of balloon launches (along with
rockets, tethered balloons, and kites). The Regulations
look intimidating, but is actually quite simple, as long as
you limit the weight of the NS craft. If you follow the list of
limits which follows, there will be no required permission to
amateur NS as I am? This column will show you the ropes.
Everything from building airframes, trackers, flight
computers, and recovery parachutes will be explained in
future columns. I’ll provide directions for assembling
balloon filling equipment and explain prep and launch
procedures. Flight predictions and some of weather’s
effects on flight will be covered, as will putting together a
launch and recovery crew.
Perhaps the most exciting aspect of the program —
designing experiments and analyzing their results — will
• A total weight of 12 pounds for all
the modules in the NS craft
• No single module weighing more
than six pounds
• No module with a side smaller than
six square inches
• Use safe launch procedures and a
• No launching from restricted air
spaces without the permission of
FAR 101 is a reasonable attempt
to share our air space resources
between commercial aircraft, private
pilots, and amateur science. To be a
responsible user of air space, filing a
NOTAM (notice to airmen) before you
launch is advisable. Accomplishing
this requires only a simple call to a
toll-free phone number.
In addition to this column,
directions for constructing airframes,
avionics, and balloon filling equipment are available by contacting me
or other NS groups. The fastest and
simplest NScraft to obtain is a
reusable lunch bag carrying an APRS
tracker based on a Tiny Trak III.
Check my article in the February
issue of Nuts & Volts for details.
Parachute directions are available
from the same sources. An
alternative to making a parachute is
to purchase an amateur rocket
parachute and modify it for your use.
LiftWin and BallTrak are
programs written specifically for the
amateur NS community. Copies of
the programs can be downloaded
from the EOSS website (www.
eoss.org); there is no cost for using
Are you still as excited by