Colorado EOSS-202 Balloon Flight Carrying Amateur Radio Payloads “Awesome”
An Edge of Space Sciences (EOSS) balloon flight, launched on October 25 by students from Colorado and New Mexico, and carrying three ham radio payloads into near-space surpassed its planned altitude. The mission, designated EOSS-202, took off under a clear sky from Deer Trail, Colorado. The Douglas County, Colorado, STEM School and STEM Academy and Spartan Amateur Radio Club, AB0BX, sponsored and coordinated the balloon flight.
“It was awesome,” said Paul Veal, N0AH, a Rocky Mountain Division Assistant Director and AB0X trustee. “It was simply the best weather any of us could have hoped for. According to EOSS, our flight reached one of the highest altitudes they’ve had in years — nearly 104,000 feet!”
Veal said a large number of young students participated “with great enthusiasm throughout the morning cold at sunrise throughout the heat of the day.” Several of the more than 2 dozen students taking part in the project are radio amateurs.
The “AB0BX Spartan Space Sciences” mission carried seven student-designed payloads aloft. All payloads were retrieved after the balloon burst, at first tumbling and then descending gently to Earth borne by a parachute. Video from the ground was able to capture the balloon’s burst as it attained its maximum altitude. The onboard ham radio payloads served to track the balloon during flight and recovery and also transmitted telemetry during the mission.
Veal said the only major snafu involved the onboard Go-Pro cameras, which were equipped with 8 GB cards. “We really needed 32 GB [cards], so we got awesome pictures but only up to around 80,000 feet,” he explained.
Veal said a parent-led chase team convoy was able to see with the naked eye the sun’s light reflecting from the balloon when it was more than 84,000 feet up. “This included several parents and students who tagged along in 13 vehicles — around 50 of us altogether.” The balloon traveled more than 70 miles, 19 more than predicted.
“The farming-ranching community in and around the recovery area near Cope, Colorado, gladly helped us to recover the balloon on private land,” Veal said. “All payloads were recovered with no serious damage.”
“Data from the various experiments, along with photos and videos from EOSS and spectators, will be collected in the next few weeks,” said Veal. “I am hoping that the school can create a student team to formulate a digital book to count toward credit.” As a result of the balloon project, he said, several project-based lesson plans for grades 6 through 12 can be formulated along STEM standards.
Amateur Radio is playing a huge part of high-altitude balloon launches around the world. The Colorado EOSS flight on 25 October 2014 was a complete success. These flights are often part of a student-designed CubeSat later on. According to Paul Veal (N0AH), the ” Data from the various experiments, along with photos and videos from EOSS and spectators, will be collected in the next few weeks…to formulate a digital book to count toward credit.” Great job by all involved.
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Aloha es 73 de Russ (KH6JRM).