MCC Launch – 4/9/16

We completed our 48th successful HAB launch on Saturday, April 9, 2016 from the South Omaha Campus of MCC.

My calculus-based Physics II students prepared the pods with their experiments.


Although the sun was shining, it was windy and still very chilly after a night that dropped below freezing. We prepared for the launch on the grass in front of the Connector Building. Notice how clean the chase vehicle is.

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Accidental selfie while turning on the Go Pro camera on Pod #2.



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We were able to launch around 9:30 am. The students then headed off to take a Calculus III test and were not able to go on the chase, which turned out to be somewhat eventful.

I am often  impressed with how closely the prediction software matches the actual flight path. This time, the prediction was within just a few miles. It had us landing near Clarinda, Iowa and that is precisely what happened.


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The balloon burst occurred at 83,875 ft.


Slow motion video of the balloon burst.


After the balloon burst.



Satellite view of landing site.


We had a visual of the payloads on the descent, but we had difficulty finding a non-existent road that was listed on our map. When we found the payloads, they were in a tree.


We tried some methods of getting a string around the payloads so we could pull them out of the tree. It gave Michael a chance to try out his CO2 line gun. It has a foam dart that has a string tied to it.


That wasn’t doing the job so we tried our weighted tennis ball with a string attached.


That was taking a long time, so the property owner decided to give us a hand by cutting the tree down with a chain saw.


Jim and Kendra, happy to have everything out of the tree unscathed.


Now, we just needed to get back to the highway.


Uh oh.


After a tow from the tractor, we were on our way home to recover from the recovery. Remember how nice and clean the vehicle was at the beginning of the day?


We want to give a big thanks to the physics students, MCC, NASA Nebraska Space Grant for helping make our flight possible and to the landowners for helping make our recovery possible.