On Sunday, Feb 8, 2015 we launched NSL-34. This was another high altitude test and a re-flight of NSL-33. The payload was identical to NSL-33 with the addition of a Spot tracker for backup. The 275g payload (Spot, AP510 tracker with attached 808 #16b camera, under-hung chute) was lifted with a 1600g cell filled with Hydrogen to ~700g of lift. The flight team consisted of Matthew(12) and Paul with Chris acting as Capcom / Public Affairs Officer.
The jet stream was rather calm (for winter), so we launched from a park in Yadkinville NC. The park had an amphitheater stage that turned out to be a great place to fill the balloon out of the breeze. Here is Matthew with his characteristic scarf as viewed by the on-board camera:
The predicted flight was to carry it north of Winston-Salem and then south to southern RTP. It was a beautiful, sunny day for a chase, but it got a bit hazy up above. Below are Pilot Mt and Hanging Rock State parks; followed by a view of Greensboro & High Point (PTI airport) as well as the string that led to the descent parachute 15m below.
Turbulence in this area (around 35,000ft) threw the payload into the balloon several times as it spun the system end-over-end. Thankfully there were no sharp points on the payload, but these impacts may have created weak spots on the balloon.
Although hazy, it was mostly cloudless, so we were treated to some great still images from the on-board video camera. Here is the east coast of the US from 132,000 feet:
A majority of the 1600g balloon stayed with the payload after burst. Although the parachute was at the end of a 15m string, it still tangled with the balloon pieces and made quite a picturesque mess.
With the parachute tangled, the payload came in fast (impacting at 25mph). It "landed" in a front yard of a Fuquay-Varina neighborhood.
A big THANK YOU to honorary NCNEARSPACE recovery team members Bill and Susan Burkhart !
Flight visualization. Projected flight (Yellow) and actual (Blue).