Dunedin Space Programme - Earth Curve Observation

Near Space Balloon Mission

We are the Dunedin Space Programme. We launch weather balloons into near space (20-30 km high). Our aim is to capture photographs of the curvature of the Earth and measure properties of the high altitude atmosphere using sensors and portable experiments. We currently meet at the Kavanagh College Science block at 5 pm on Sundays. New members welcome.
Our first flight was launched from near Queenstown on 2 June 2014 at 11am, and recovered from near Ranfurly at 5pm.
The flight exceeded the target altitude of 30,000 metres. A photo from 31,000 metres appears below.

We are now preparing for our second flight, which will be between 1 Nov and 14 Dec 2014. The staff planning page has more details.
Principal sponsor BOC.

Read about us at in the Otago Daily Times: report on preparations, report of first flightand photos from the first flight. For more comments and pictures see our Facebook page .

For upcoming flights check flight predictions here, and follow the flight live by APRS.

If you are part of our group and need access to the Staff Only section, or need to add to one of the other pages, then email Chris on cj.hilder@clear.net.nz asking to be given full access to the site.
Image from 31,000m taken just after balloon burst. Colour has been enhanced. Labels have been added. The very dark black line and blob at the top of the photo is our GPS aerial dangling below the balloon capsule.


  • Second flight Planning for our second flight is now under way. Key dates are 28 Sept 2014 for the full mock flight and 1 Nov to 14 Dec for the launch window ...
    Posted 2 Aug 2014, 15:16 by Chris Hilder
  • Meeting Sunday 8th June, 2014 HERE'S THE PLAN FOR SUNDAY: Everyone involved in our Balloon mission is invited to come, including family and friends if you wish, to our 5pm meeting at Kavanagh College ...
    Posted 16 Jun 2014, 00:53 by Chris Hilder
  • Meeting Sunday 4th I suggest we have a meeting at out regular time on Sunday 4th May. The things I am concerned about are listed here.
    Posted 25 Apr 2014, 14:25 by Chris Hilder
  • Flight plans for 26th April No flight on 26th April. We are now on standby for the first suitable weekend, where flight predictions and weather forecast both look good. Hannah will be posting predictions here
    Posted 24 Apr 2014, 20:08 by Chris Hilder
  • More on power supply issues We have identified problems with the RPi behaving erratically when running on batteries. This is occurring even when running on fresh Lithium non-rechargeables. This discussion http://www.element14.com ...
    Posted 7 Apr 2014, 01:27 by Chris Hilder
  • Power supply issues I have done some research and measurements, summarised on this page: Battery Power. In summary, alkaline batteries will run our capsule for 15-30mins and lithiums will increase this to ...
    Posted 19 Mar 2014, 15:03 by Chris Hilder
  • Outcome of mock flight The mock flight was aborted after problems with the power supply. Our bank of 4 x AA batteries lasted only about 15 minutes driving the flight computers and the ham ...
    Posted 16 Mar 2014, 00:42 by Chris Hilder
  • Mock flight Meet 3pm Museum foyer. Will probably do the mock flight entirely indoors, given the weather!
    Posted 15 Mar 2014, 16:53 by Chris Hilder
  • 7th March 2014. BALLOON Hi guys,Just not sure if we will make it on Sunday but, thanks to Hamish and the team at NIWA in Lauder, I have a 1000gm balloon sitting in ...
    Posted 6 Mar 2014, 12:40 by Rachael Forde
  • Feb 17th 2014 Hi guysJust wanted to follow up re. balloon and gas issues discussed at last night's meeting.I have been in contact with Mr Alan Thomas at NIWA and ...
    Posted 16 Feb 2014, 19:34 by Rachael Forde
  • 2 Balloons I have procured 2 350gram weather balloons.  The met service do not use the larger ones and did not respond to my email asking about them but, instead, 2 smaller ...
    Posted 12 Feb 2014, 01:21 by Rachael Forde
  • Mock flight Mock flight set for 3pm Sunday 16th March, Museum Reserve. All systems will be tested except He gas into main envelope. All developers must ensure all systems are flight-ready ...
    Posted 2 Feb 2014, 22:06 by Chris Hilder
  • 8 Dec 2013 We have decided to stop meeting over the Christmas break with this being the last meeting till mid January. Even though the group meetings will stop the programmers will continue ...
    Posted 9 Dec 2013, 16:21 by J and J Neal
  • 1 Dec 2013 Today the group decided to commit to flying three cameras. The Raspberry Pi camera and two Canon cameras. The Canon's will be independently powered and programmed. One of the ...
    Posted 2 Dec 2013, 01:27 by Chris Hilder
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