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Flight S3R-3

S3R-3 took place on May 29th, 2010. You would hope we would get it all right this time. Not quite.

This time we put 2 of the Nikon s-6 still cameras in the stabilized camera payload. One key fob video camera was placed on the bottom of the camera payload and the other one on the parachute spreader ring. Duct tape is a wonderful thing. The radios were the same as S3R-2.

Because it is getting hot in Arizona we got an earlier start this time. The flight left the ground at 8:45, burst at 9:35 at 76,700 feet and was back on the ground at 10:35. We were able to see the balloon at burst altitude and had many spottings on the way down. We watched it land in a field and were able to drive to within a few 100 feet of the landing site.

Many of the problems we had are shown in the video below but I will go through them quickly here. Our launch was a little shaky. The camera payload hit the ground and knocked off a fin. We would find out later that it also knocked one of the cameras out of position. The second payload also tried to take the head off of the person that was holding the first payload.

At around 30,000 feet the video camera on the spreader froze and shut off. It was not insulated as it was a last minute addition. At or around burst the second still camera turned off. The voice transmitter went through reset (indicated by the “Power On” transmission) followed by silence.

All in all we were much happier with the results of this flight.

What we learned on S3R-3

  1. Launch can be dangerous, stay alert.
  2. Move with the balloon and allow the balloon to lift the package from you, not pull it out of your hands.
  3. Make everything redundant, especially the tracking.
  4. Expect failures

Here are the graphs from this flight

And here is the KMZ (Google earth) file of the flight. This one includes the altitude info as well.

And of course a few pictures from the launch and recovery. This time with video!

A picture of the tiny video camera that went up and took great pictures




Right before lift off.




Right after liftoff.




Landing in a farmer's field.




More pictures of the landing site.