Sunday, April 2, 2017

Near Space Flight for Open Window School

NearSys arrived in Ellensburg, WA on March 30th to launch two near spacecraft for Open Window School in Bellevue, WA. The launch took place from the Rotary Park in Ellensburg on Friday morning (8:00 AM on the 31st). Both missions were flown in helium since students were involved.

The backup trackers on each near spacecraft didn't produce position reports that the APRS system could understand, so this is under investigation. Otherwise, a sufficient number of position reports from the primary trackers  were recieved, although far fewer from KD4STH-7 than KD4STH-9.

Flight NearSys 17C reached an altitude of 80,041 feet. It's last position report to enter the APRS system was around 5,000 feet AGL. Since the flight landed so far away in the mountains, it took a while to drive to the landing zone and locate the capsules. Rachel was monitoring APRS when KD4STH-7 transmitted a packet. The near spacecraft was then easily spotted 1,000 feet off the road.

Andrew Mechling of Open Window School after recovery of half his students' BalloonSats.

Flight NearSys 17D reached an altitude of 84,668 feet and landed much closer to the launch site. It too landed in the mountains, but the roads in the landing zone are accessed by BIA roads. Google Maps was found to be inaccurate and the roads were not marked with signs. As a consequence, it took four tries to locate a road that actually took us to the landing site. When NearSys arrived, amatuer radio operator Tony Ross (K7EFS) and David Hamann were found at the near spacecraft. The recovery took so long only because of the nature of the roads in this part of Washington.

Overall, a good flight, but one that makes us aware we need better backup launch sites in Washington. Perferrably, one for east-west flights and one for north-south flights.

No comments:

Post a Comment