Missions‎ > ‎


On the morning of Tuesday, May 1st, NSL-64 was launched from downtown Greensboro.  Similar to NSL-53 the previous year, this payload was constructed by students at Kiser Middle School.  The student Kiser Meteorology Club met over the previous months with Matt, Mike, et.al. of UNC-G's SELF Design Studio (School of Education).   Paul L. acted as consultant.   The NSL-53 payload box received a new arm and was re-flown with the following:
   -AP510 APRS tracker
   -Spot backup tracker
   -Mobius Action Camera wide-angle w/ 3000mAh battery
   -A Raspberry Pi with temperature probes
   -Test tubes with various water samples
   -Various souvenirs for the students/staff
   -Outside Hung Compact Rain-Activated Pull-down 
   -And the school mascot Tigernaut (with space helmet)
An 808-clone camera with 2200mAh battery, was again added in a small box further up the line to look down upon the main payload box.   Like last year, the students also made their own parachute.  This time they chose to use tulle mesh instead of shroud lines to create a rugged 1m chute that was more resistant to tangling.
 Students conducting parachute design tests earlier in the year

The payload ended up being 1500g and used a 600g cell.  This year, funds were raised to fly with Helium instead of Hydrogen.  This allowed the students to get closely involved with fill and launch.   As launch time approached, the entire 7th grade filed-out to watch the launch.  Some club members spoke to the crowd while others prepped and launched.  A television crew was was there to film the event.

Fox 8

   3...2...1...Launch!                    Launch video

  View from the downward looking camera just after launch

After launch, some of the students and their parents headed out as part of the chase team.
The two hour flight was projected to drift southeast and land very near Jordan Lake.  The initial plan was to lighten the payload to allow it to climb faster, burst early, and land short of the lake.  But a last minute substitution of the backup tracker added even more weight.  So a few more mementos (mass) were then added to the payload with hopes of extending the flight long enough to get it over the lake and land further east towards Apex.

 - - -
One of the experiments this year was testing the effects of salinity on freezing temperatures/rates.  A Raspberry Pi was programmed to record temperatures within a vial of tap water and simulated ocean water.  Below are images of the experiment at launch, burst, and landing:
- - -


While the chase team traveled southeast, the rest of the club staffed the school's Mission Control. 
There they tracked the payload and communicated with the chase team.  They also kept the rest of the school up on the flight progress via the in-school video system.  The TV crew also interviewed the students throughout the flight.
There were tense moments as the Mission Control team plotted the lowering temperatures and battery reserves as it headed for the lake.  But thankfully their hand-made parachute worked flawlessly and the payload floated over the lake at 5km.
Once across the lake, it slowed down and came to a gentle landing in the woods.  The chase team was already on-site to respond.  After a good dose of bug spray, they trekked into the woods to locate the payload far up a tree.   A drone was launched; hauling-up a fishing line over the payload.  A larger cord was then pulled up and was given a tug...
  Drone hovering next to the payload

The payload fell from the canopy, but sadly caught again on a limb half way down.   A second attempt was made with the drone, but it later took Tim W's expert aim with a weighted string to finally bring the payload down the rest of the way.

 Flight visualization

Ascent rate and payload internal temperature data

The cameras from NSL-53 were reused for this flight.  These were wide-angle cameras and on both flights went out of focus during the coldest part of the flight.  The Mobius also again had issues with its automatic color balance, so the images became very blue towards at the peak of the flight.