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High Altitude Balloon Ideas (2.0)
elakdawalla
post Feb 26 2011, 05:28 PM
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I don't have any brilliant ideas to add to this discussion, so I'll just lead the cheering from the sidelines. Rah, rah, sis-boom bah!


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Astro0
post Feb 27 2011, 03:11 AM
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"Sis boom bah!"

Isn't that the sound the balloon makes as it finally pops at high altitude?! wink.gif
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eoincampbell
post Feb 27 2011, 04:52 AM
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QUOTE
a cinematography group used the HD-Hero action cameras to record some genuinely breathtaking footage - http://www.youtube.com/user/kevinmacko -

Breathtaking indeed, ohmy.gif , and of course, I thought of Huygens-at-Titan during the wonderfully changing scenery too...
Good luck with the venture...


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nprev
post Feb 27 2011, 05:30 AM
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Well, I can only echo Emily's "rah rah boom-bah!"... laugh.gif ...but one non-imaging idea to front.

Atmospheric data from the edge of space is always of value to a wide variety of people. Are there any putative CubeSat-style organizations (universities, etc.) that might like to sponsor you with an add-on payload to collect same? They might even pay for a more robust balloon!


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Astro0
post Feb 27 2011, 05:53 AM
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For anyone not too familiar with how these flights happen, there's a bunch of useful links here worth reading.
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Gsnorgathon
post Feb 27 2011, 08:35 AM
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nprev's on to something. While you're at it, slap some aerogel on that thing, see if you can get some comet bits.
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AndyG
post Feb 27 2011, 12:21 PM
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1/ I like the idea of returning home, or, indeed, to any safe/designated landing areas that your payload might find itself near.

There are issues here - any "proper" glider would find itself in a ~1% air density environment at the point of release. Something scaled to work down here will simply plummet from up there. Cheaper and simpler would be to stick with a parachute, but one with some element of a glide ratio. 3:1 is easily attained, 5:1 more difficult (best paraglider canopies are around 11:1) but either of the former should be plenty from an altitude of 30km or so.

One big benefit in a controlled/gliding recovery is that the payload could be made much more stable after release - making it a better camera platform - and it would be possible to program in 360s at stages/altitudes during the descent to give full panoramas if required.

2/ Everybody uses weather balloons, good for 30km. But we know we could balloon to 50km. I think, as a goal, that's more an altitude suitable to UMSF's ambitions! blink.gif

3/ As to alternative payloads - the artistic-eco-guerilla in me rather fancies a couple of thousand sycamore seeds, released at height.

4/ The somewhat saner, rationalist side of me thinks that demonstrations of the ambient temperature and pressure are essential - but would it be possible to demonstrate the lower gravity at balloon altitude?

Andy
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djellison
post Feb 27 2011, 06:06 PM
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QUOTE (AndyG @ Feb 27 2011, 04:21 AM) *
There are issues here - any "proper" glider would find itself in a ~1% air density environment at the point of release. Something scaled to work down here will simply plummet from up there. Cheaper and simpler would be to stick with a parachute, but one with some element of a glide ratio. 3:1 is easily attained, 5:1 more difficult (best paraglider canopies are around 11:1) but either of the former should be plenty from an altitude of 30km or so.


But, the same rule applies as for your glider concerns. at 10 mb it's going to be at a screaming velocity to generate that glide ratio. I've actually seem them try to do that - the parafoil return. It's damn hard because you have almost no means of 'hanging' the parafoil in a way that allows it to reliably inflate after balloon sep. It's a very very hard thing to pull off. You HAVE to do a cut-down, not a burst, because otherwise the burst balloon ruins any chance your parafoil had.

QUOTE
2/ Everybody uses weather balloons, good for 30km. But we know we could balloon to 50km. I think, as a goal, that's more an altitude suitable to UMSF's ambitions! blink.gif


Zero Pressure Balloons are very big, very hard to find, very expensive, and take a lot of very very expensive helium. PLUS - you HAVE to have a cut-down or you're never returning to the deck. It's an idea worth looking at though

QUOTE
3/ As to alternative payloads - the artistic-eco-guerilla in me rather fancies a couple of thousand sycamore seeds, released at height.


Environmentally, politically, legally even, ..... no. Moreover, the sort of place this is likely to occur, they would never germinate.

QUOTE
4/ The somewhat saner, rationalist side of me thinks that demonstrations of the ambient temperature and pressure are essential - but would it be possible to demonstrate the lower gravity at balloon altitude?


Yup - internal temp, external temp, pressure, maybe humidity, UV flux, IR flux, etc etc.

Gravity scales as over the square of the radius. 6,378km^2 compared to 6,410km^2. W're talking 2.4583 against 2.4338 (both x10^-9) - It's a change of barely 1%. I doubt there's a means of measuring gravity that accurately within the mass and volume constraints....and given the 'entertaining' ride things get up the hill and down the hill, that 1% gets lost in the multiple-G bouncing around in every direction.
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eoincampbell
post Feb 27 2011, 07:09 PM
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Is the altitude at which the ballon pops generally expected, given the properties of the stack components and weather that day?


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djellison
post Feb 27 2011, 07:14 PM
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It's something of a bell curve, but yet - the performance of the balloon, the inflation level etc etc - they all determine to a reasonable level - where it'll burst.
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djellison
post Feb 27 2011, 07:59 PM
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I've asked for a pricelist from Kaymont on balloons. Their largest ballon if used at spec, goes to almost 38km.
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James Sorenson
post Feb 27 2011, 08:50 PM
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Here are a couple of potentially interesting science instruments smile.gif

A Alpha/Beta/Gamma Ray Gieger Counter (Bit pricey, but would make a cool experiment)
http://www.sparkfun.com/products/9848

Perhaps an Optical Dust sensor?
http://www.sparkfun.com/products/9689

An array of Gas sensors targeted at specific gas's would be rather interesting as well...
http://www.e2v.com/products-and-services/i...ensor-selector/

Just some suggestions.
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bkellysky
post Mar 4 2011, 11:41 PM
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I'm fascinated by these extreme altitude balloon photo adventures. As a meteorologist, I knew how high a weather balloon can go. I wish I had thought of this! To get a photo from the edge of space is a wonderful thing, and to do it without an X-15, or other expensive ride, is amazing.
I don't think I could pull this off and I don't have any better ideas than have been already suggested here for equipment.
But if you want help, perhaps your local Civil Air Patrol squadron or state CAP Wing would be interested in the project.
They do search and rescue, so they are experienced in finding electronic boxes that fall from the sky.
CAP has an extensive Aerospace Education program for the Cadets (age 12 to 21), so if you get an adult AE coordinator interested, they could be helpful.
On the other hand, sometimes doing a project like this is best with a dedicated group from friends or co-workers (or other UMSC-ers) that you know and trust.

All the best,
bob
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