So - now I live in the USA, I've been researching what's possible over here regarding balloon flights.
Firstly - the laws for ham-radio are much more relaxed, so instead of having to use bespoke 10mW transmitters for tracking... you can use an off the shelf 10W APRS tracking device ( http://www.byonics.com/microtrak/mtaio.php ) . You don't need to contact the FAA if it's below a certain mass. There's a lot more country to land it in, rather than the north sea.
So - I'd very much like to start thinking about what unique project we, as a bunch of spacey people, could use a high altitude balloon flight for.
Here's some of the things that have been done recently in the field of amateur high altitude balloon flights :
If you want to be blown away - a cinematography group used the HD-Hero action cameras to record some genuinely breathtaking footage - http://www.youtube.com/user/kevinmacko -
They also used a ShadowBox - a sort of data-logger-of-awesome - http://shadowboxlive.com/
You can now get fairly cheap back-up tracking using the SPOT locators http://www.findmespot.com/en/
There's now an almost off the shelf APRS tracking system including data - http://www.rpc-electronics.com/rtrak-hab.php
These guys have pulled off a number of flights including panoramas being shot as they went - http://sites.google.com/site/ucsdnearspaceballoon/
SO - what, if anything, might we do that's new, unique, interesting, given the options that have opened up in the last couple of years?