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Sending A Balloon Into Space?  
User currently offlineajd1992 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Posted (1 year 5 months 1 week 2 days 23 hours ago) and read 4096 times:

Hey,

So I just saw a blog on this - very cool. Question is, as i'm now interested in doing this for myself, what are the barriers to doing this? (Apart from financial, obviously).

I know I need permission from the CAA as you can't just fling a balloon into the sky. Problem is, I live in between a load of busy airspace. Wallasey is used as a trans Atlantic crossing point, which is obviously rather busy. I also live under the flight path of Liverpool's runway 27 as well (literally!)




Any reason I shouldn't do this? Will they laugh at me at the CAA? I'm expecting to be told I have to do it somewhere else, as it is really busy.




[Edited 2012-11-08 11:57:08]

[Edited 2012-11-08 11:58:35]

21 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlinefrancoflier From France, joined Oct 2001, 3613 posts, RR: 11
Reply 1, posted (1 year 5 months 1 week 2 days 21 hours ago) and read 4095 times:

I have little idea about the regulatory aspect of that particular activity, but I believe it's still challenging enough in the US, where the FAA sends you to specific areas, assigned to weather balloons launching, and assigns you a time slot as well I believe. And that's in a country that has vast expanses of empty spaces with relatively scarcely populated skies...

Here in regulation crazed Europe, especially near a major urban area and concentration of airports and airways, I expect it to be closer to an administrative nightmare...

That said, there are assigned weather balloon launching spots here too (they're marked on aviation maps), and there are clubs that do model rocket launching, presumably from dedicated areas as well. These are probably the people the CAA will ask you the contact for that.

Good luck! If you go ahead with it, don't forget to keep us posted, with pictures!



Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit posting...
User currently offlinerfields5421 From United States of America, joined Jul 2007, 7345 posts, RR: 32
Reply 2, posted (1 year 5 months 1 week 2 days 21 hours ago) and read 4095 times:

One of the reasons Rowsell and eastern New Mexico was chosen for the recent balloon flight is that the parachute landing area would be in a very likely uninhabited area without any serious terrain issues which could injure Baumgartner. Most of the area would also be free of people and structures if the balloon failed and the capsule plumented to earth in a crash.

Taking off from Liverpool - you would have a lot of inhabited property and people under the flight path. And the possibility you could be landing in the North Sea.

My measurements during the flight showed a horizontal distance of approx 43 miles for Baumgartner, and the capsule landed another 43 miles east of Baumgartner.

[Edited 2012-11-08 14:25:59]

User currently onlinenomadd22 From United States of America, joined Feb 2008, 1763 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (1 year 5 months 1 week 2 days 21 hours ago) and read 4095 times:

Quoting rfields5421 (Reply 2):
My measurements during the flight showed a horizontal distance of approx 43 miles for Baumgartner, and the capsule landed another 43 miles east of Baumgartner.

Did the folks in Tatum think the aliens were back?



Andy Goetsch
User currently offlinerfields5421 From United States of America, joined Jul 2007, 7345 posts, RR: 32
Reply 4, posted (1 year 5 months 1 week 2 days 20 hours ago) and read 4095 times:

No, folks in New Mexico know the aliens are in the underground complex just outside Dulce.

User currently offlinekalvado From United States of America, joined Feb 2006, 485 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (1 year 5 months 1 week 2 days 19 hours ago) and read 4095 times:

If you are using standard definition of "space" - being more than 100 km above Earth surface - there is too little pressure over there to support a balloon.

User currently offlineGST From United Kingdom, joined Jun 2008, 930 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (1 year 5 months 1 week 2 days 12 hours ago) and read 4095 times:

Quoting kalvado (Reply 5):
If you are using standard definition of "space" - being more than 100 km above Earth surface - there is too little pressure over there to support a balloon.

Indeed, this guy sets the record straight pretty well on what is and isn't space by many definitions: http://depletedcranium.com/no-felix-...bsolutely-did-not-jump-from-space/

Not to discourage anyone from their balloon launching projects, it sounds really cool and I want to do it myself sometime.


User currently offlineajd1992 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 7, posted (1 year 5 months 1 week 2 days 7 hours ago) and read 4095 times:

Quoting francoflier (Reply 1):
I have little idea about the regulatory aspect of that particular activity, but I believe it's still challenging enough in the US, where the FAA sends you to specific areas, assigned to weather balloons launching, and assigns you a time slot as well I believe. And that's in a country that has vast expanses of empty spaces with relatively scarcely populated skies...

Here in regulation crazed Europe, especially near a major urban area and concentration of airports and airways, I expect it to be closer to an administrative nightmare...

That said, there are assigned weather balloon launching spots here too (they're marked on aviation maps), and there are clubs that do model rocket launching, presumably from dedicated areas as well. These are probably the people the CAA will ask you the contact for that.

Good luck! If you go ahead with it, don't forget to keep us posted, with pictures!

Yeah, I did think it'd be a nightmare to do although I suppose if it was arranged properly and I did it away from big population centres with an airport (near me there are Liverpool, Manchester, Chester, and I believe a few light fields as well) there would be a no problem at all. Obviously, it'd be faster/cheaper to just not tell them but I'd rather not do that and put people at risk. As for specialised balloon launching spots - no idea about where they are here.

If I ever do it, there will be a blog and a lot of photographs. I also have a bullet HD camera (Contour ROAM for those who are into that sort of thing) so if I can get it configured to draw from an external battery, I could potentially end up with a video of the entire ascent/descent.

Quoting francoflier (Reply 1):
One of the reasons Rowsell and eastern New Mexico was chosen for the recent balloon flight is that the parachute landing area would be in a very likely uninhabited area without any serious terrain issues which could injure Baumgartner. Most of the area would also be free of people and structures if the balloon failed and the capsule plumented to earth in a crash.

Taking off from Liverpool - you would have a lot of inhabited property and people under the flight path. And the possibility you could be landing in the North Sea.

My measurements during the flight showed a horizontal distance of approx 43 miles for Baumgartner, and the capsule landed another 43 miles east of Baumgartner.

[Edited 2012-11-08 14:25:59]

Yeah, I didn't even think about the North Sea. Quite a bad place to do it to be honest as the jetstream would likely push it East towards Denmark and Germany (although it would never get there, I'd guess).

Quoting kalvado (Reply 5):
If you are using standard definition of "space" - being more than 100 km above Earth surface - there is too little pressure over there to support a balloon.

What do you mean? I'm quite confused by that  
Quoting GST (Reply 6):
Not to discourage anyone from their balloon launching projects, it sounds really cool and I want to do it myself sometime.

Indeed, my space programme needs funding so any partners are appreciated....  


User currently offlineflyingturtle From Switzerland, joined Oct 2011, 2037 posts, RR: 13
Reply 8, posted (1 year 5 months 1 week 2 days 6 hours ago) and read 4095 times:

There is a Swiss company, http://himmelsbestattung.ch/ , that offers "sky funerals". A container with the ashes are lifted up to 35 km, and then the ashes will be dropped.

It seems they are starting their ballons in Switzerland, and our airspace is heavily used. The lower regions (the Mittelland) is also densely populated.


And check out this project of a high school student: http://matura11.wordpress.com/tag/maturarbeit/


David



Keeping calm is terrorism against those who want to live in fear.
User currently offlineajd1992 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 9, posted (1 year 5 months 1 week 2 days 6 hours ago) and read 4095 times:

Quoting flyingturtle (Reply 8):
There is a Swiss company, http://himmelsbestattung.ch/ , that offers "sky funerals". A container with the ashes are lifted up to 35 km, and then the ashes will be dropped.

It seems they are starting their ballons in Switzerland, and our airspace is heavily used. The lower regions (the Mittelland) is also densely populated.


And check out this project of a high school student: http://matura11.wordpress.com/tag/maturarbeit/


David

Hey,

Thanks - they look really cool. I can't access the first link as I'm at college (oddly enough) but the 2nd one looks really cool. I may email the guy and ask for any hints and tips he has.


User currently offlineGST From United Kingdom, joined Jun 2008, 930 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (1 year 5 months 1 week 1 day 21 hours ago) and read 4095 times:

Quoting ajd1992 (Reply 7):
Quoting kalvado (Reply 5):
If you are using standard definition of "space" - being more than 100 km above Earth surface - there is too little pressure over there to support a balloon.

What do you mean? I'm quite confused by that

Basically to lift a payload a balloon needs to displace atmosphere with it's own bulk that has a lower density than the air around, as the atmosphere gets less and less dense (space is not a total vacuum but it is close enough as makes no difference) there is essentially nothing for the balloon to displace and hence you can't generate lift. This is why even helium balloons have a ceiling height above which they would not be able to climb (though I understand they generally pop a good bit below that). By just about any definition of the beginning space (and there are many) the height is too great to give positive bouyancy to a balloon of any practical size.


User currently offlinefrancoflier From France, joined Oct 2001, 3613 posts, RR: 11
Reply 11, posted (1 year 5 months 1 week 1 day 20 hours ago) and read 4095 times:

Here's the website from a bloke who's been launching balloons in the UK. From what I've read he's even starting commercial launches.
His contact is on there and he'll probably tell you lots on how to go about your project.

There also is a list of useful links which look, ...er, useful.

http://www.robertharrison.org/icarus/wordpress/



Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit posting...
User currently offlineajd1992 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 12, posted (1 year 5 months 1 week 1 day 3 hours ago) and read 4094 times:

Quoting GST (Reply 10):
Basically to lift a payload a balloon needs to displace atmosphere with it's own bulk that has a lower density than the air around, as the atmosphere gets less and less dense (space is not a total vacuum but it is close enough as makes no difference) there is essentially nothing for the balloon to displace and hence you can't generate lift. This is why even helium balloons have a ceiling height above which they would not be able to climb (though I understand they generally pop a good bit below that). By just about any definition of the beginning space (and there are many) the height is too great to give positive bouyancy to a balloon of any practical size.

Ah, I understand now. I guessed it wouldn't ever get to "true" space as it's not rocket powered but still, 100,000ft+ is pretty impressive.

Quoting francoflier (Reply 11):
Here's the website from a bloke who's been launching balloons in the UK. From what I've read he's even starting commercial launches.
His contact is on there and he'll probably tell you lots on how to go about your project.

There also is a list of useful links which look, ...er, useful.

http://www.robertharrison.org/icarus...ress/

I've had a look on the CAA website and surprisingly, it's a case of just filing an application, getting a permit and telling a local airfield who'll say when's when if the traffic is clear.


User currently offlinekalvado From United States of America, joined Feb 2006, 485 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (1 year 5 months 1 week 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 4094 times:

Quoting ajd1992 (Reply 7):
What do you mean? I'm quite confused by that

What exactly confuses you? "space" is traditionally defined as 100 km above earth surface (50 miles =80km in US), that is a standard definition.
Calling 30 km space is pretty much like saying "supersonic Toyota Camry*" (footnonote: *compared to a horse-pulled vagon)
And no, it is next to impossible to build a balloon which would reach 100 km. Air density is about 2 million times lower up there - so a spherical 100 m balloon would create a lift of less than 1 kg (about 300 g if my math is done correctly). Think about the weight of that balloon - and that becomes more than challenging technical problem.


User currently offlineAesma From France, joined Nov 2009, 6100 posts, RR: 9
Reply 14, posted (1 year 5 months 1 week 19 hours ago) and read 4094 times:

What if we combine the two amateur activities, balloons and rockets ? Put a rocket attached to a balloon, and fire it once the balloon is at its ceiling ?


New Technology is the name we give to stuff that doesn't work yet. Douglas Adams
User currently offlineflyingturtle From Switzerland, joined Oct 2011, 2037 posts, RR: 13
Reply 15, posted (1 year 5 months 1 week 5 hours ago) and read 4094 times:

Quoting Aesma (Reply 14):

Interesting - I remember this idea from an space flight/rockets history book that was published in the 1970ies ("Geschichte der Raumfahrt" by Werner Büdeler).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rockoon


David



Keeping calm is terrorism against those who want to live in fear.
User currently offlineajd1992 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 16, posted (1 year 5 months 6 days 23 hours ago) and read 4094 times:

Quoting Aesma (Reply 14):

What if we combine the two amateur activities, balloons and rockets ? Put a rocket attached to a balloon, and fire it once the balloon is at its ceiling ?

I suppose it would add a lot of weight and complexity to the entire construction, as well as cost. Not only that it'd have to be programmed to fire once it sensed the "craft" started to sink rather than climb. Good idea though.


User currently offlineAesma From France, joined Nov 2009, 6100 posts, RR: 9
Reply 17, posted (1 year 5 months 6 days 22 hours ago) and read 4094 times:

Quoting flyingturtle (Reply 15):
Interesting - I remember this idea from an space flight/rockets history book that was published in the 1970ies ("Geschichte der Raumfahrt" by Werner Büdeler).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rockoon

I guess I'm too late for a patent then ! Very interesting link thank you.

Quoting ajd1992 (Reply 16):
I suppose it would add a lot of weight and complexity to the entire construction, as well as cost. Not only that it'd have to be programmed to fire once it sensed the "craft" started to sink rather than climb. Good idea though.

Well once in the upper atmosphere some thousand feet wouldn't make a big difference (I watch rocket launches and shuttle launches and the latter clearly throttled so as to clear the lower atmosphere relatively slowly, then when still in sight went full throttle), so you would probably just program the rocket to fire at an altitude that would not be the ceiling of the balloon.



New Technology is the name we give to stuff that doesn't work yet. Douglas Adams
User currently offlineajd1992 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 18, posted (1 year 5 months 6 days 21 hours ago) and read 4094 times:

Quoting Aesma (Reply 17):
Well once in the upper atmosphere some thousand feet wouldn't make a big difference (I watch rocket launches and shuttle launches and the latter clearly throttled so as to clear the lower atmosphere relatively slowly, then when still in sight went full throttle), so you would probably just program the rocket to fire at an altitude that would not be the ceiling of the balloon.

True, that would actually be a lot easier to do anyway although I'm sure trying to buy a set of components for a rocket may raise some suspicions 

I'm going to price this up (without the rocket part, malheureusement   ) and see what it costs.

What sort of GPS tracker would I need? All the ones I've found are either not live (they simply plot a track you download) or are expensive and need a subscription, which for 1 launch is pointless.


User currently offlineflyingturtle From Switzerland, joined Oct 2011, 2037 posts, RR: 13
Reply 19, posted (1 year 5 months 6 days 5 hours ago) and read 4094 times:

Quoting ajd1992 (Reply 18):
What sort of GPS tracker would I need?

Ask in the glider community, they use GPS loggers for competitions where they have to fly outside of a pre-defined triangle.

The participants in orienteering races sometimes use GPS loggers, too.

Both should be lightweight, but the price... I don't know.


David



Keeping calm is terrorism against those who want to live in fear.
User currently offlineGST From United Kingdom, joined Jun 2008, 930 posts, RR: 0
Reply 20, posted (1 year 5 months 6 days ago) and read 4094 times:

Quoting flyingturtle (Reply 19):
Ask in the glider community,

Someone called?

Unfortunately glider loggers only record a trace for you to download later, I am not aware of any that transmit your location live (besides very special cases for the grand prix). They're also heavier than may be desirable for a weather balloon to loft.

I think I remember one guy had sent a smartphone up with his balloon with an app that sent periodic text messages of altitude and grid ref position.


User currently offlinefrancoflier From France, joined Oct 2001, 3613 posts, RR: 11
Reply 21, posted (1 year 5 months 5 days 22 hours ago) and read 4094 times:

Quoting ajd1992 (Reply 12):
it's a case of just filing an application, getting a permit and telling a local airfield who'll say when's when if the traffic is clear.

Uh... How about that.

Quoting ajd1992 (Reply 18):
What sort of GPS tracker would I need?

Some people just use an iPhone (or some other GPS equipped smartphone), with an app which, I presume, regularly sends the phone's position to another phone.
You do have to protect the electronic hardware against the cold though, by encasing it in a thermally isolated container for instance.



Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit posting...
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