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Re: [Phys-l] homemade spacecraft!

I sent one up this summer with a group from the University of MN. It was a trial run to investigate sending them up with students.
Neat, expensive. Helium isn't cheap (compared to my budget). The balloons are obviously disposable. I think each launch is roughly $500. Additionally, it seems that a HAM license is required for the transmitters. Some groups have done this with cell phones on the balloon. I have been told that this is an illegal transmitter (reading these gps coordinates from the cell phone).
The video and photos are cool. There is some interesting data to be found.
The balloon was visible at its peak. By chance, we pulled over when our balloon was at roughly 80,000 ft. We saw it pop. It was there, then gone. Then the gps data showed it dropping. We were told that the balloon was roughly the size of a house when at 80k ft. I don't know whose house, but regardless, it give a feeling for volume.

Paul Lulai
Physics Teacher
St Anthony Village S.H.
3303 33rd Ave NE
St Anthony Village, MN 55418

612-706-1146 ;

-----Original Message-----
From: [] On Behalf Of William Beaty
Sent: Tuesday, October 19, 2010 12:33 PM
To: Forum for Physics Educators
Subject: Re: [Phys-l] homemade spacecraft!

Here's one from 2006!

Radio amateurs have apparently been doing this for years. (Need
foxhunt beacon to find your camcorder thirty miles away in a field.)

I think today that hobbyists put GPS onboard, then rig a transmitter
to send serial data, so you can just go to the GPS coords.

And several more:

Here's another space balloon:

Inflation of ECHO II, 1964 (see 1:23 for best part)

On 10/19/2010 4:11 AM, Anthony Lapinski wrote:
A colleague just sent me this 7-minute video clip of a balloon with a
camera attached that went up into space. The balloon later expanded,
exploded, and the camera went into free fall. Very interesting! Very cool!

Might be a good project for students?

Forum for Physics Educators

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William J. Beaty Research Engineer
beaty a chem washington edu UW Chem Dept, Bagley Hall RM74
billb a eskimo com Box 351700, Seattle, WA 98195-1700

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