Have Balloon, Will Fly Payload!
     This is an Opportunity that few balloon groups will ever have again. I want to make this a somewhat competition.
As I said in the E-Mail, at first I was going to simply do this flight and grab and hold onto the all time maximum altitude record.

     But I later thought, while cool,  but what a waste of a special balloon!  First some history on how this came to be.

     We have been working with NASA on the very first Wisconsin version of the Rockets For Schools program. Where we developed the payload for the countries very first inland sub-orbital rocket launch right here in Wisconsin. The Rocket was the "Super-Loki"

     What an awesome rocket it was too!  Calculated Maximum Altitude it should have reached would be 340,000 feet!  Yea Baby!

    Soon after that we here at Near Space Sciences NSS were contacted by some retired NASA engineers.  They say they have been following our adventures right from the very start of our first flight. And they felt of all the existing groups at that time we were the best fit for them because we were constantly flying stuff no one else was trying to do yet. A "Push The Envelope" Group.

     They asked us if we would help them test fly some small payloads for them.  I told them of course we can not accept any payment for helping them, and anything we do has to be legal. And they said of course.  These guys were in the chase for the Space X-Prize.

     And they had several prototypes of their Space Plane designs. And wanted to drop them from various altitudes to see how they performed. We developed all the record keeping software to record during the flight G forces and various other parameters they wanted data for. 

It was a blast spending someone elses money! 

     This was when it was legal to drop a glider from altitude. We had the FAA's blessing for the project and several flights. Back then we had an awesome FAA rep for our area. He was so open to anything new we were never turned down for a project.  We even had his blessing and waiver for a Rockoon flight.  It was a large rocket.  I honestly do not remember what altitude it would have finally reached I just remember the massive motors it had.  a single "P" motor surrounded by 4 "O" size motors! Man what a MONSTER!!  We had permission and waiver in hand for that even to happen.  We just never finished the project,  And then 9/11 happened, and FAA reps changed and now the skies are not so freindly anymore to our wild and crazy ideas!

     Anyway,  we started flying their payloads, starting off fairly low, like 10K feet then like 40K  then 80K  etc.  After about a dozen flights of the design they liked the most they wanted to go all out for altitude drop with it. And Then Bought two Giant PE balloons.

     Here is a picture of the last flight we did with this giant PE balloon. Of course it is pretty self explanitory. in the center is laying out the balloon,  at the left is filling it.  and at the right is it leaving with chute and payload attached.

   This was one giant balloon! In the left image you see it being filled,  the fill "Tube" is  50 feet long!

     And it flying away at the right.  Again it shows how BIG this balloon was, Remember that fill tube is 50 feet long!
The total height of the balloon is, 130 feet long.  so during launch  the top of the balloon was aproaching 200 feet above the ground and the payload was still on the ground!!!!

     Go to show you how LARGE that balloon was,  think of it's size in it's volume at burst!

A typical Large Latex Balloon is a 1500 gram size balloon correct? 
And it's burst volume is roughly a little over 15, 500 cubic feet.  15.5 thousand cubic feet.

     Well this beast has a burst volume of 300,000 cubic feet!!!  Yes! Three Hundred Thousand cubic Feet!!

     It's spec data sheet says it can take a 25 pound payload,  yes I did say 25 pounds of a payload. And even with a 10% over total free lift IE:  the balloon system has the lift capacity of 60 pounds of lift it is rated still to be ble to reach 134,000 feet!

Imagine with a reasonable payload the altitudes it can get to.!

     Well we did this last flight for them, andthat was the end of it. They never won the X-Prize. or how far they got I do not know. And we never heard from them again.  Till last Fall.

     Out of the Blue the lead guy, the guy in charge of their project contacts me. He ask me if i new of anyone that would want his left over balloons.  ike DUH  ME!!!! So a month or so later I'm neeting hm at an interstate truck stop for a balloonpick up.

     I got several latex balloons, and one GIANT PE balloon!  The twin of the one we flew above!!

     Thats when I had the original thought of breaking the all time altitude record.  And the first task was to get  GPS that will work at altitudes this might reach.  Which I did  It is supposed to be able to reach 250K according to the manufacturer.  But then I got to thinking what a waste.  lets fly something cooler nstead.

     So thats where we stand folks.  One Giant balloon. looking for a cool payload to drag along! We can fly it as a sounding balloon, where it acts just like a giant latex where it rises and pops,  or we can fly it as a floater Mark Caviezel  of Global Western is designing a vent for it so it can reach maximum altitude and stay there.

    So that's my offer,  If you want to send something aloft on this balloon contact me via the E-Mail address below describing your payload, and we will see if it wins the ride!

By the way,  the launch location will be here at NSS Home, In Southwest Wisconsin.

Joe WB9SBD

Near Space Sciences

nss@mwt.net

    

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