Make: Space – Tethered Test

ahab location data!

After getting a few winks at the banks lake motel our posse headed out to a remote undisclosed location. Our team of crackerjack location planners used balloon tracking software to compile weather and windspeed data to simulate our flight and picked a location out the flight maps that would keep us from landing on railroad tracks, in a lake, on an airport runway, or hanford nuclear reservation.

The weather forecast wasn’t good and our optimism was beat into submission by a layer of fog up to 2,000 feet and a layer of clouds from 12,000 to 15,000 feet… After a quick call to 1-800-wxbrief, we realized that we wouldn’t be able to launch. The FAA requires at least 50% clear skies among other things and with only 250 feet of visibility in any direction, we decided to do a short tethered test.

This proved to be very valuable! Our systems all worked and we learned a lot!

In particular, we learned the importance of test, supply inventories, spare parts, communication gear, and first aid equipment. The wiki also showed it’s extreme power to achieve collaboration and productivity among 12 people on one project!

Both our primary and secondary tracking systems worked! Our primary aprs beacon was easily trackable locally and even made a hit onto the repeater in Spokane!

Our backup tracking system, the Mologogo phone, was the star of the show. It logged and uploaded data the entire time. Big thanks to the mologogo folks, who really helped us out with their awesome software!

We all became better friends and after some rest, we shall not rest until we return in month with better weather. We shall reache space!

More photos and video to come soon!

18 thoughts on “Make: Space – Tethered Test

  1. pelrun says:

    Well, now I understand why the tracking data was showing only altitudes around 2500 feet – it seemed a bit too consistent for an untethered balloon, not to mention pretty far from space :)

    Hope the weather’s better for the second attempt!

  2. says:

    I wish you best of luck !


  3. morcheeba says:

    The skies look clear enough in the photo ;-)

    No, seriously, I hope you make the GPS track available for download… I’ve got an idea of something to do with the data.

    Awesome project, people!

  4. cyenobite says:

    rats, just lost my comment cause I wasn’t signed in… here goes again…
    Going back to MAKE 01 with the kite aerial photography… I was thinking of combining these two projects. Question is, in your recent podcast, you talk about all the “stuff” you have to do as far as the radar beacon, faa clearance, etc… did/do you have to go through all of that as long as the balloon is tethered? I guess I’ll head over to the wiki.
    cool project!

  5. ballooney says:

    Bad luck guys, we had to abandon a launch this weekend too. We’re re-scheduled for Wednesday, Jet Stream permitting!

    The best laid plans of mice and men mean sod-all when mother nature gets involved :)


  6. i/hate/you says:

    you did not go to space you went to NEAR SPACE you idiots

  7. Bre says:

    Good Luck Ed!

    Good point on the book i/hate/you.

    Also, i/hate/you you’re right, it’s not actually “space.” There are a few different points of view on the border of space. I’ve heard that astronauts get their wings for space after they’ve been 100 miles up.

    That being said, we’ll be going to a height where the sky is black and the cameras will see the curvature of the earth. Pretty space-like, eh?

    I’m curious about your resources for defining space… I’ll mention something about official “space” in the next podcast.

  8. NGinuity says:

    Bre, I never knew you were a Ham! 73 de KG4VPV!

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