Near space


Grenfell Campus, Memorial University of Newfoundland,
Corner Brook, Newfoundland, Canada

The Program
The Payload


A Launch

The GUANO payload package, from top: connections for the controller board's 9 V batteries, the controller board (with temperature, pressure, and humidity sensors, as well as the Morse coding chip), the radio transmitter, transmitter AA batteries, the cosmic ray monitor.

Fresh batteries are installed in the GUANO package and it is readied for launch.  The ground radio receiver is visible sitting on the lid of the package (lower left) and the computer which runs the signal software is seen in the background.

The 1200 g meteorological balloon is filled with helium.  Luckily there was very little wind on the ground - otherwise this could have been quite tricky! (Note the ground cloth protecting the balloon from the grass below.)

Later in the filling stage: the balloon is periodically checked for the required lift by attaching a weight equivalent to the GUANO package.

The 2 meter-wide radio antenna can be seen at the left edge of the image.

When balloon is filled, the orange parachute and GUANO package are attached.  The package has identifying labels on the outside requesting a return (for reward). The total payload weighs about 700 g.

The launch!  The large 1200 g balloon is almost 2 metres across; at maximum height the low air pressure will have caused the balloon to swell to about 8 metres!  The latex will be stretched too thin and will burst, and the GUANO package will plummet toward the ground.

The parachute does not start to slow the package until it descends to about 20 to 15 km.

Away it goes, almost straight up, and is visible for several minutes before becoming too small to see.



Thanks to Ian Payne for the great pictures!