Project Heads Up

Project Heads Up Part 2 (PHU2), Summer 2013
June 22, 2013 Successful launch and recovery.
Launch time 11:10am
Landed at 12:43pm
Reached approximately 76,000ft
The KML file can be downloaded off of the Google APRS page, just search call sign KC9YMN.
The KML file is on the right hand side of the screen.
What we learned from todays launch....
The cardboard plank for Perry and Candice was a big mistake...caused the Gondola to spin, and it caused all the lines to tangle.  The gondola, parachute and the remains of the balloon landed in a soybean field in a tangled mess.
The Byonics Micro-Trak RTG FA worked perfectly.
The Kenwood D72 hand held radio worked perfectly.
Looking forward to Spring 2014 project with next years 5th grade class!
Spring 2014 don't use a plank to support any characters.  Maybe use a drag parachute on top of the balloon to keep the remains of the balloon from falling on top of the primary parachute.
5 Minute movie about launch day. 
May 17th : The gondola and its contents have still not been located.  The word is definitely out though.  George and Wendy Richardson went out and did a grid search in their Cessna 150 and had no luck.  Also the Civil Air Patrol from northern Illinois have conducted several blanket searches of the area as well as the near by areas of the predicted landing location. 
Thank You so much for your time and effort in the search for the lost Gondola.  The kids, teachers and myself, sincerely appreciate your efforts.
May 10th : Well here is the latest.  No traceable GPS signal from the gondola.  So we are down somewhere in these fields. We tried to chase it down but no luck.  I am really tempted to go look today since the fields are still bare and the trees do not have there leaves yet.  If any of you have friends out in this area, call them and have them be on the lookout.  That estimated position is about 2.5miles northeast of Harvard IL. I am very confident based on our gondola weight and how much helium we used that we reached 100,000ft, and that the prediction software is very accurate.  I will update the site tonight with pictures and video from what we were able to get. Keep your finger crossed!







The team members of "Project Heads Up"


Here are some of the reasons why I do this program.







 Educating the Next Steve Jobs


Please Take 5 minutes to watch this Video 

Neil Degrasse Tysson



Our mission is to reach 100,000ft and to live broadcast video from our gondola during the mission and then to retrieve our payload at the end of the flight.

All right the results from our drop test on Monday April 22...

What did we learn..

We learned that our fearless leader is a schmuck!!! He forgot to change the voltage setting on our power supply, that supplies power to our video receiver at 12v, instead is was set to 6v...Hence no live stream video....

Parachute drop test results....


Parachute 1 (3ft diameter parachute) took 4.8 sec to hit the ground from 85ft

Parachute 2 (4ft diameter parachute) took 5.5 sec to hit the ground from 85ft

Parachute 3 (5ft diameter parachute) took 8 seconds to hit the ground from 85ft

I uploaded the GoPro Video from the 5ft parachute drop test..See Below

The total weigh of our payload is 2.45lbs 

Our 1K tank of Helium is on Reserve at Party City in Lake Zurich.  I will pick it up on April 30th.

All Teams keep running the prediction software so that you become use to how to use the software.

After the Drop test we will make any necessary adjustments.  In the next couple of weeks we will go through the following things....

The Prediction Web-site...

Using the upper level wind charts and how to read them....

How to track our Byonics GPS.....

Using last years (2012) numbers...We filled our balloon with enough helium to generate about 2.2lbs. of lift force.  2.2lbs of lift force gave us a climb rate of 620ft/min for the first 3100ft/5min. Then a climb rate of 860ft/min for the next 4300ft/5min.  Then a climb rate of 926ft/min for the next 4630ft/5min

5c....Gondola Team : Finished our gondola waiting for launch. Need to make a sign for the side of the Gondola. 

Parachute Team.  Need to decide which parachute to use for launch day


5p....Launch Team : Finished our checklist.  Need to go over it one last time before launch

Camera Team : The camera team has decided to place the live stream camera looking out the side of the gondola and the GoPro looking down at the ground from a pool noodle attached to the Gondola.   We also need to test all of our equipment hooked up to a single battery back pac in order to determine if one battery pac will power all of our equipment for 4 hours.

5k.....Balloon Team : We have our two balloons and are now ready for launch day.  We still need to reserve our 1k tank of helium from Party City. You guys are also going to be responsible for our antenna tracking on launch day!!!

Tracking Team :  Get use to running the prediction software.  I will come in one day next week and go over how to read the winds aloft charts.

See you then.

This is my HAM radio call sign KC9YMN.  It is used to track one our GPS devices inside our gondola.  We will get telemetry data from this device as well as the temperature inside our gondola.  It will also be used to locate and find our payload upon return to earth.

Use this link to track our MicroTrak RTG...

If the "KC9YMN" does not show up on the google map...then

In the "Track Call Sign" box enter kc9ymn and then click search

Launch Team

Here is our Day Before Launch Checklist  

Day Before Launch Checklist

Launch Team

Here is our Pre-launch Checklist and Launch Checlist 

Launch Checklist

Feet to meters calculator

Prediction Web-site                 National Weather Service Winds Aloft


2012 Near Space Balloon Project (Click Here)


Thank You to the following sponsons for their support!

Thank You to the Spring Grove PTO, and the Spring Grove Elementary for purchasing the T-shirts!!!!

 Thank you to Dave at ReadyMadeRC for all of his help.

 Thank you Tony at FPVLR for all of his help with our Helix antenna setup.

Thank you to Allen over at Byonics for his help with the "Micro trak".

Thank you to Bill (wb8elk) at Elktronics with the Inventek High Altitude GPS

Thank you to John and Daniel at DragonLabs
 April 4, 2013 : Putting our drop test gondola together...
The Prototype Gondola 
Our Ground Base antenna and Video Receiver setup. 

Video Test

 Some minor problems to fix....But should be good to go!


April 24, 2013 : Results From our Parachute Drop Test

3ft Diameter Parachute

4ft Diameter Parachute


5ft Diameter Parachute

GoPro Drop Test


April 24, 2013 : Thank You once again to Jake, CJ and the Fox Lake fire Department!






Science and Engineering links....