We wouldn't be able to have got nearly so far so soon without drawing upon the wellspring of knowledge and information kindly provided by other HAB pioneers, so it would be churlish not to acknowledge their mostly unwitting help and assistance.
In particular, we've got a lot of very valuable information from the UK High Altitude Society website. The balloon data tables were very useful indeed. So was the page on radar reflectors and pyrotechnic balloon cutaways, a well hidden gem. We've taken advice from a Cambridge pyrotechnician, and will probably fill the area around the igniter with some crushed Swan Vesta match heads. Apparently they make good "bangers" and ought to disrupt the plastic tube most satisfactorily.
A few notes for anyone else planning something similar:
- When you're soldering the long wires to the igniter tail wires, keep the tail wires crossed or otherwise shorted together; This is to prevent an electrostatic discharge triggering the igniter early. Then insulate them from each other!
- When you've soldered the long wires onto the tails, twist the bared far ends of the long wires for the same reason;
- Crush the match heads very carefully. You don't want to generate enough heat to ignite them!
Information and HAB projects
We found a great deal of useful information and tips at James Coxon's Pegasus HAB Project pages.
Rocketman Enterprises Inc. have a useful selection of links and tips, covering rocketry as well as HAB. They have an online store (US-based) selling many products for both types of project.
Project Aether is an educational collaboration helping spread the word about science to schools and youth groups in the New England area of the States. They also sell Kaymont (actually Totex) balloons from their online store. The Brooklyn Space Program is broadly similar, and has its own online store.
Knowing your meteorology is rather important for High Altitude Balooning (HAB) projects. There are interesting discussions on the NetWeather forums.
The Near Space Tracker is likely to be an important part of our track-and-retrieve phase.
The HALO mission pages document a flight in 2008, launched from Ontario, Canada.
If you decided to build your own power supply, you could well find the datasheet on Energizer's Ultimate Lithium batteries (PDF file) useful. They hide it well, so we include the link here.
Want to understand what your GPS receiver is saying to you? If not, what are you doing here? Otherwise, the technical brief on the NMEA data packet format (PDF file) might be handy.
We got our Hwoyee balloons and parachute from UK-based Random Solutions, and the kit turned up, packed well, within a few days.
We're using a Scosche goBAT II as the main power sourc, providing 5000mAh of power at 5V through two USB sockets: one at normal USB current of 1A, and the other able to supply at 2.1A - great for heaters and the cutaway device. So far, it's looking good.
We'd also considered using the MintyBoost homebrew USB power provider. We're still considering it as a smartphone pocketable backup power source, though. Another similar power source, rather neatly using an Altoids tin, is here.
We buy quite a lot of prototyping parts (so far, the mBed controller, the GPS unit, the temperature and barometric pressure sensors, and numerous other parts) from Cool Components.
American hobbyists might want to check out HW Kitchen. We're particularly taken with their pocket-sized Open Source digital storage oscilloscope and we're delighted to see that it's available in th UK from Cool Components, in both dual and quad (2 Analogue + 2 Digital) forms.
Last Updated (Sunday, 21 August 2011 21:31)