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Balloon Experiments

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1 Balloon Experiments on Fri Sep 25, 2009 11:20 pm



The balloon and camera were launched at 7:44 AM, the balloon burst at 10:51 AM at 107,145 ft. and the camera landed via parachute at 11:40 AM, 89 miles from the launch site after a 3 hr. & 56 min. flight. The camera recorded a total of 4 hrs. & 22 min. of Hi-Def Video before it stopped recording 53 secs after landing, when its 32GB of memory was full. The only thing better would have been if the camera had recorded for several minutes more to captured the sound of us approaching and video of us opening its container.

The camera captures a nice view of a local TV Tower at 2:50 (min. & secs into the video), 3:16 and several other times. The haze is from high humidity and it's unfortunate that the sky wasn't as clear as it usually is and was for SABLE-3. At 5:45 the camera is nearing 107,145 ft. where there's basically no air to conduct sound so nothing is heard other then what vibrations are conducted through the supporting cords, Styrofoam box and camera body to the camera microphone, like the bursting of the balloon at 6:26. Some of the balloon remains can be seen falling past the lens at 6:27 and then the fun begins as the Styrofoam box with the camera inside is repeatedly struck by the antenna hanging below and the several pounds of latex remaining from the burst balloon as everything tumbles every which way back to earth at up to 7900 ft./min (90 mph) in the near vacuum until there's enough air for the parachute to start functioning. The beeping first heard at 9:13 is my car door alarm as I got out to watch the camera land and at 9:36 the camera catches those tracking it as we stand on the road and watch it pass by before landing a few seconds later.

BEAR-4 was a balloon flight for Tomoya Kamiko from Japan who emailed on May 23rd after seeing the SABLE-3 photos to say that he would like "to take a photograph of the space, too!" and ask if I would help him send a Hi-Def Video Camera aloft . Tomoya didn't know English, but was willing to learn and come to Canada to do this so how could I say no. He didn't even have a video camera, but bought a Hi-Def one the day I agreed to help him and made travel plans to come for a balloon flight in August soon after that.

Tomoya arrived on August 16th and the next week was spent building a Styrofoam box for his camera and getting everything ready for his balloon flight the following weekend.

The tracker was installed in the lid of the payload box and the same tracker & antenna as used for SABLE-3. The camera was tested to determine how many batteries would be needed. Five AAA Lithium L91 cells would likely have been enough to operate the camera for 5 hrs., but they would also be operating the tracker so two sets
of five cells were wired in parallel to ensure the tracker would be able to operate for much longer. To keep the camera in place, one set of batteries was placed on either side, small blocks of foam were placed in front and behind, and the box was sized such that the center piece of foam in the lid kept the camera from moving upward. In the event of a water landing, a UV filter was screwed onto the camera to prevent water from entering the camera through its lens opening and a small rubber sun shade was screwed onto the filter that fit the box opening tightly to keep water from entering the box through its lens opening.

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PotterManiac Cool

2 Re: Balloon Experiments on Sat Sep 26, 2009 11:26 am


I am glad that they found the experiment useful.....


***Forum Administrator***

3 ye ye on Sat Sep 26, 2009 10:21 pm


Yes, I am glad too Very Happy


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