Space Balloon

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Hive13 Project
Space Program
Status: InActive
Start Date: 04/29/2010
End Date: 10/24/2010


As part of the Hackerspaces in Space competition, Hive13 will be sending a weather balloon to approximately 70,000 feet above sea level to capture photographs.



  • GPS (G1)
  • Cellphone (G1)
  • Balloon
  • Camera (Canons)
  • Housing for everything (cooler)
  • Parachute
  • Helium
    • -- $20 for tank, $10 for 100lbs helium - about $150 for the minimum amount we need (70 cubic feet at minimum)
    • Place by me (reportingsjr) rents full tanks (230-250 cubic feet) for $150 and a $50 refundable deposit
  • Altimeter
    • Could we build our own, like this?
    • Parachute deployment
  • Tether


  • 8' Latex Weather Balloon
  • Chris' Flip HD camera
    • Have run into a problem with the camera. Because of the FAT32 filesystem it uses, a single video is limited to a maximum size of 4GB. The first video I shot was 57 minutes long, and the wildly gyrating video we can expect from the balloon will be a good deal shorter. For the first launch we can probably just hit record right before launch and take what we get.
  • Ryan's Android G1
  • Styrofoam coolers
  • Parachute
  • 2x Canon A530's w/ CHDK for time lapse




The payload will experience:

  • temperatures as low as -60 to -90 F
  • pressure around 20 milibars
  • wind, g forces
  • shocks, crashes
  • cosmic rays



Good info:




Payload Software

Base Software


Cold Test

Load-Bearing Test

Telemetry Test

Pre-flight Checklist



October 24, 2010

Potential Sites

This tutorial:

tells how to read this map:


Balloon should travel roughly eastward, so maybe somewhere in Indiana like Harrison or Lawrenceburg.

FAA Rules Etc

Hey, read these ok?

Better link:

  1. may not be hazardous to people or property
  2. can't launch from restricted or prohibited areas
  3. load line severs with < 50lbs of force
  4. weight no more than 6lbs
  5. if weight exceeds 4lbs, surface density cannot exceed 3oz/in^2


The above link indicates that if we meet the requirements set out in Subpart A, then we can essentially launch without special permission. I think we still need to avoid controlled/restricted airspaces (meaning around airports or air force bases - check an aeronautical map) but other than that we're fine. We just have to keep the payload small and make sure the tether severs with 50lbs or less of force. If we do not meet the requirements, then we have further restrictions on the launch including not launching in class B, C, D, or E airspace. DaveMenninger 17:36, 16 September 2010 (UTC)

Launch Procedure


Based on reports of other balloon flights, it seems reasonable to assume the payload could travel as far as 100 mi. 100 mile radius map

Recovery team should be prepared to drive long distances and search for the payload in a variety of landing sites.

To Do List

  • Figure out what combination of equipment we need to use to stay under the $250 limit.
  • Figure out what we need to do with the FAA to launch balloon
    • As I understand it, payloads of under 4lbs do not require FAA notification, but it couldn't hurt to get confirmation. Fuzz 12:39, 6 May 2010 (UTC)
  • Find a good a launch site
    • Someplace that is not ... "within the lateral boundaries of the surface areas of Class B, Class C, Class D, or Class E airspace designated for an airport;"

Are You Crazy





Chris Davis

Jon (reportingsjr)


Engineering / Construction

  • Dave

Launch and Recovery Team - October 24th

  • Dave


Equipment Etc

Other Groups

Just Pics