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NSL-29

On the morning of Sat 8/23/2014, we launched NSL-29.  This was a test flight similar to NSL-28.   Paul, Kory, and Jeff launched from Raleigh and Jim joined in for the chase.  Chris was our CAPCOM.

Flight configuration:
600g balloon and ~100 cu ft H2
The venerable old "blue box" (10th flight) with 1140g of:
  1m weather vane arm
  Bigredbee 2M APRS transmitter + Spot Tracker
  Test: AP510 APRS transceiver [working with developer on a high altitude model]
  Video cameras:  Mobius & 808 #16 lens D looking out.
  RF remote tree descender rig
     ... and a rubber duck

We plan to help out with the Fox50 Family Fun Fest in early October, so we took one of their rubber ducks up to film some video.  We added a space helmet of course.
  
WRAL-TV / NCSU in the background at launch                                   And the Raleigh skyline in silhouette via camera 2                         

Duck.... in.... spaaaace....        Clouds building up below

  
Video stills around burst at max altitude of 92,160 feet

A thunderhead in the recovery area (recovery crew drove under it)


A very similar flight to NSL-28.  The test APRS unit failed again over 38K ft so the developer is back to the drawing board (the GPS chip should support high altitude flight).  We were within 2 miles of the payload at touchdown; a last moment, unpredicted reversal of its track prevented us from catching it.  It ended up landing in a patch of woods among thousands of acres of open farmland.  The payload initially stuck in a tree but then fell to the ground a couple of minutes later.  The tree cut-down device wasn't needed, although we fired it off as a test anyway and it worked well.

The cameras provided 20GB of video although the 808 went out of focus at high altitude.  We've seen this before in this particular 808 (our other 808s work fine) and we suspect the low air pressure, not temperature, to be the culprit (adding a vent hole should prove this).  Our funny APRS antenna again drooped in the troposphere, but stood back upright once things warmed up in the stratosphere.

The weather vane appeared to have some effect in the troposphere.  Above that, it just wasn't big enough.  Having the added mass out on the arm didn't seem to help spin either compared to the almost identical NSL-28 flight without it.   If anything, there appeared to be more momentum to the spins.


  
Various track plots
  dark yellow - predicted track
  green - Bigredbee APRS track
  light yellow - AP510 APRS track (with errors)
  pink - chase team convoy

   


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