Kuss Middle School High Altitude
June 13th, 2008
The Kuss Middle School students were bussed across
Fall River to the Sylvia School, which has large fields
and is perfect for launching balloons. Science Instructor,
Joe Cote KB1LJG, gives the kids a quick talk to get things
Then N1JOY was asked to speak to the kids. He gave the
kids an overview of how the communications between the
field, from inside the HAMCOW, to the recovery boat
off the coast of Westport, MA. The balloon was predicted
to land in Buzzards Bay.
The students designed and prepared several experiments, and
each experiment rode in its own payload module dangling from
the balloon. One payload was and APRS transmitter.
The school hired a professional crew to handle the technical
parts of the launch. They also provided one payload module
which transmitted telemetry information back to the HAMCOW.
The students stabilized the balloon as the helium was being
fed into the envelope.
Here you can see the parachute & 8 individual payload packages
dangling from the balloon. The students gave a loud and excited
countdown and cheered the ascent. Immediately we saw
telemetry & APRS data. The bottom payload is a small
digital video camera that captured the entire flight, landing,
It didn't take long before the balloon headed out of sight.
Once the balloon transmitted back that it reached a pre-set
altitude, it will be commanded to separate the balloon and then
drift back to Earth on the orange parachute. If this command was not sent,
the balloon may have flown dozens of miles off shore and recovery
would have been unlikely. The separation point happened
somewhere over New Bedford, MA.
Fall River Herald News Video describing the balloon and payloads.
See the video from the balloon camera payload
while it gets prepared, filled with helium, and
then launched. Follow all 6 segments on YouTube to
see the entire flight from Fall River, MA, and recovery
from Buzzards Bay literally a few yards off the coast
of Cuttyhunk Island.
Many of the students piled into the HAMCOW to watch the
balloon flight on APRS, and pass the coordinates along
to the recovery boat. Here we saw the balloon reach apogee,
release, then drift down and land just off the shore of
We even had a few minutes to take a group photo of the
Kuss Ham Radio class students.
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