We had planned to test our new camera stabilization platform by launching from the South Omaha Campus of Metropolitan Community College. However, our prediction had the balloon passing too close to Offutt Air Force Base so we decided to launch from the Strategic Air & Space Museum, like we have many times before. This was our 41st successful high altitude balloon flight.
The engineers from KuL3D made a few additional modifications on the prototype, such as adding the hoods to the cameras so that the strings would not get caught on any of the protruding parts. We purchased a remote for the GoPro 3+ cameras so we could turn them all on simultaneously.
James and Nathan from KuL3D attached the lines.
One of the nice things about being at the museum is that, with one announcement over the loud speaker, we can get an interested audience to participate in the experience.
We measured about 5 pounds of equipment so Michael filled to 10 pounds of lift.
Tom helped Michael tie off the balloon.
The team and the observers walked the string out the back of the museum, counted down, and released the system.
The balloon burst around 76,000 ft. Our prediction was set for 85,000 ft. (see above) so it fell a bit short of where we thought it would land. This was one of our lower bursting flights. This was probably caused by a combination of slightly overfilling the balloon and using one of the last of a batch of weather balloons we bought over a year ago, therefore, they might have degraded a bit.
As the balloon was descending, we could tell it would land on the west side of I-29, near Nebraska City, but we could not tell on which side of the Missouri River it would land. We were on the east side, but it landed on the west side, and, although we were within 1 mile of it, we had to drive 30 miles around to cross a bridge to get to the far bank.
It landed about 200 ft. from the river’s edge, which is much better than landing in the river. As we were driving to the location of the GPS, we could see that trees lined the river so we suspected that it was another tree landing. Our suspicions were confirmed; it was in a tree, but the parachute was only about 10 ft. off the ground and the rest of it was easy to retrieve.
We will work on processing the video from the cameras and I will make that available in a separate page.