NSL-45 was flown on the afternoon of April 17, 2016. This was planned as a short, fun flight under the auspice of 'using up some spare lift gas'. Paul L. wanted a full tank of H2 for the upcoming Maker Faire, and his current tank was half-full. This is a poor excuse for a flight, economically, but it was a beautiful day; so why not.
The payload chosen was the glider from NSL-43. It was rather worn from its previous flights, but flight worthy. A small 200g chloroprene balloon selected as the chase crew wanted to stay in Wake County. They overfilled the balloon to at least 1kg of neck lift. It looked like it was going to burst even before launch.
Like NSL-43, the glider had an 808 #16 camera and a AP510 APRS tracker on-board -- both were mounted just like in NSL-43. The developer of the AP510 had provided new firmware earlier in the day, so that was loaded for test.
The balloon looked as if it would burst at any moment. The chase crew all made guesses on when it would burst -- 25,000 ft, 30,000 ft, etc.
They were all shocked when it kept going up ! It finally burst just short of 55,000 feet. The remains of the balloon separated from the glider as they fell. Around 33,000 feet the glider began pulling up into its stalls.
Visualization of the flight showing the long, slow gliding into landing.
Visualization of the flight from the perspective near the landing site.
The cheap foam plane did exactly was it was supposed to do upon landing in dense tree cover -- it broke into pieces.
Sadly, we did not get any on-board video from the flight. The ribbon cable that connected the lens to the camera unit was loose. This caused the camera to record garbage.