■ FIGURE 15. This is Great Bend
and its airport as seen from 59,000
feet. I had been experimenting
with using this camera for near
infrared photography and forgot to
change its settings back to color.
wrap a rubber band around one
end of the tube, across the hatch,
and then wrap it around the other
end of the tube.
I had a chance to fly my new
BalloonSat on April 22, 2012. The
launch took place at the Physics
department of Ft. Hays State
University (thanks Dr. Adams and
Dr. Maseburg). My BalloonSat was
tracked using the Ft. Hays APRS
tracker and one of mine.
I was glad for the Ft. Hays tracker,
as I was recently having trouble with my trackers quitting
during flight. (The problem was eventually traced to old
batteries, but I digress.) The flight reached just under
87,000 feet and landed south of Great Bend, KS. I
recorded the information in Figures 13, 14, and 15
concerning the air temperature and relative humidity with
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The BalloonSat worked well, overall. However, I
learned several things on this mission. First, check the size
of the SD memory card in the video camera and make
sure it can record an entire mission (over two hours). I
also discovered that if the BalloonSat gets shaken too
much, the camera’s power button and SD memory card
can bang into the Styrofoam airframe. Pushing on the
camera’s power button will shut it off and pushing the SD
memory card will eject it from the camera.
That’s a pity because there’s no one onboard to
restart the recording or reinsert the camera’s SD card. So,
I’ve now learned to cut small notches into the Styrofoam
where it could make dangerous contact with the camera. I
later discovered that depending on the camera, a small
nylon bolt can be inserted into the AV jack to push the
camera power switch away from the Styrofoam airframe.
Finally, if you or someone else messes around with a
camera, be sure to reset it when you’re done.
Onwards and Upwards,
Your near space guide NV
(Making mistakes so you don’t have to)
July 2012 73