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Yet another test flight of hardware similar to NSL-81.

NSL-83 launched the morning of June 20, 2020.  The intent -- to test three separate trackers and give Christopher R. an opportunity to construct his own payload.  Tim W. and Paul L. met up at Chris' home and tied together payloads while keeping appropriate distances.  A 600g cell with 1500g of H2 lift was to carry a 90cm parachute and three payloads:

Chris' built a 14cm plastic cube holding:
  • LightAPRS tracker and Energizer Ultimate Lithium battery pack
  • Canon camera (CHDK hacked) with Energizers
  • 808 #16 camera with 3000mAh LiPo battery

Paul recycled his 14cm box from NSL-82 to contain:
  • TTGO T-Beam 433MHz LoRa tracker
  • Arduino controlled latching relay system running Mobius Mini camera

Tim readied a tiny package with:
  • Femto-Pecan APRS tracker  with 2x AAA Energizers   (<20g !!)
Sadly, there were battery holder issues at the last moment and Tim's payload had to be left off of this flight.

   Tim holding the balloon as seen from the 808 camera on Chris' payload.

   Launch showing balloon, chute, and two small boxes

The morning was overcast with very low level clouds, but clearing from the south was forecast.

  Shearon Harris' steam plume rising thru low level clouds

24 hours prior to launch, the predicted flight path showed a potential landing only 2 miles from the launch site.  By the morning of the flight, the track had changed, showing a landing area either at Shearon Harris (not good!) or the Southern Wake Landfill (also not good!).   Balloon gasses were adjusted to try to land between these two.

    Views of anvil cloud from 30km

The flight proceeded as expected.  The short flight distance allowed for a sedate chase with plenty of time to get into the landing area.

  Paul's payload as seen by Chris' at burst

Thankfully the plot held and the payloads descended just southwest of the landfill.  The T-Beam's predicted landing coordinates were transmitted to Paul's chase car and then displayed on Habhub.   During descent this prediction danced around within 1km of the actual landing site.   It was headed for a neighborhood with a large sprawling golf course.  Three chase cars arrayed themselves there waiting.

  Tim's car is down here somewhere

... so of course it landed in one of the tallest trees, just off of the wide-open golf course.   It was WAY up there.

  Hours of 808 video showing it stuck in a tree

A couple hours were spent that day attempting to get a line up over the payload -- To no avail.
Tim and Christopher returned 4 days later with new equipment, and after a marathon 5 hours (!!) in the heat, they were able to get a line around the payload and pull it down.  Phew!  Tim remarked that it was the best time he'd had all week.  (Does that mean that the recovery was fun, or that the rest of the week was bad?)


  Flight visualization


    Flight information from LightAPRS and T-Beam trackers

  Path of landing prediction

Christopher was unable to recover images from his CHDK camera, and Paul's test with his latching relay failed.  More tests coming up...