S3 Research is a group dedicated to continuously launching weather balloons in a effort to collect data on stuff.
Shortly before we launched our first balloon one of our members told a higher level manager at the company most of us work at that we were planning on launching a weather balloon with a camera on it. He got a very puzzled look on his face and asked why are you doing this? The response we gave him was because we can!
How many of us get the opportunity to send something above the blue sky into the blackness of space? It challenges our abilities to overcome the -60F temperatures our little near-space ship will encounter. How do we stabilize that video so we don’t get motion sickness from watching it (we’re still working on that)?
Teamwork can also be great fun. Getting a balloon filled and off the ground takes teamwork. Watching all your hard work disappear in the sky and hoping it all works is quite a thrill. Next, add in a little back road rally action to the thrill of a fox hunt and you get an idea of what the recovery chase is like. Opening the payload to see what happened brings back the thrill of Christmas morning.
Lots of people have done this, many of them for 20 years or more. We don’t want to discourage you from trying this yourself. The thrill is proving to yourself that you can do it. But don’t just copy what we have done, where is the fun in that? Look and learn from our mistakes and make your own. Many times the mistakes are what you fondly remember in the future.
If you have questions on what we did or what we are planning, join our Yahoo group at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/S3Research, we’ll be more than happy to offer free advice.
But most of all, have fun.
P.S. About the name, it stands for Sonoran Sub Space Research. Here in Phoenix, Arizona we are in the middle of the Sonoran desert and it sounded good and the URL was available. And I was out voted on the Sub-Space Pirates name.