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!

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