[amsat-bb] San Francisco High School Students Plan Near-Space Balloon Mission

EMike McCardel mccardelm at gmail.com
Sat Apr 7 14:12:42 PDT 2012

They following two articles were reported in the April edition of the Mount Vernon (OH) ARC Newsletter "CQ". Barry Butz, N8PPF is the father of Craig Butz, KJ6DYP, one of the teachers involved in the project. I thought I would post in event anyone was interested in following the ballon launch.

by Barry Butz N8PPF
Very soon we will be joining our son Craig KJ6DYP and his students for their third near-space balloon launch. It will be in the Black Rock Desert in northwest Nevada on April 11.
Two students and another teacher have recently earned their technician licenses. One of the students has participated in the project for three years and his newly issued call will be used on the ham radio carried by the balloon.
You can track the balloon on http://aprs.fi/ by searching for KJ6VFJ-11. This will bring up a Google map showing
the position along with speed and altitude data. Two pursuit vehicles will also be sending APRS positions using calls KJ6DYP-7 and N8PPF-1.
Real-time updates will be sent over the Internet, as explained in Craigs article. Launch time is estimated as between 9:30 and noon Eastern time. The launch site is in a very remote area and I don't know if cell service or Internet will be available. Nevertheless, anyone interested should email me at n8ppf at mvarc.net beforehand and I will try to send last minute updates.

San Francisco High School Students Plan Near-Space Balloon Mission
Students in the space club at The Bay School of San Francisco have spent this school year planning a third near-space balloon mission. After several all-day meetings spent building the probe, the group plans to launch Ikaros III from the Black Rock Desert in northern Nevada on April 11, 2012 to recover images of the earth and the blackness of space along with atmospheric data from 100,000 feet altitude—three times as high as commercial airliners fly.
The group is lead by Craig Butz, KJ6DYP (son of Barry Butz, N8PPF, who plans to attend the launch) and Feroze Munshi, KJ6UTH. Two students passed their amateur radio license exams in preparation for the mission: Nolan Van Dine, KJ6UIM and Jesse Greenfield, KJ6VFJ.
Live updates on the mission and details about tracking the balloon and ground crew via APRS will be found on the project website: http://ikaros.xrg.us/livestream.html . Its APRS call will be KJ6VFJ-11.
Ikaros III will use an all-new Arduino-based flight computer to collect, record, and transmit GPS location and atmospheric pressure and temperature data. Arduino is an open-source microcontroller platform that makes interactive electronic and robotic projects accessible to hobbyists. Both the tracking and data- logging circuit boards were constructed by students. The data board is a kit from Maker Shed that records data to an SD card, with temperature and pressure sensors added by the team. The “Trackuino” APRS tracking board was designed by Javier Martin EA5HAV and Kyle Crockett, KJ6KUV, both of whom have flown their own balloons. If all goes according to plan, Ikaros will also use the services of HAM social networking site 73s.com to send its own tweets with status reports from the edge of space under the handle @ikarosflight. Miniaturizing the equipment will also help the club meet its goal of getting the probe to even higher altitudes than previous missions.
Ikaros III will be a follow-up to previous successful missions on May 22, 2010 and April 15, 2011.
During a one-hour-thirty-three minute flight, Ikaros II flew from the hills east of the San Francisco Bay Area over the Central Valley, landing 57 miles away. It reached an altitude of 83,772 feet. During the flight, the payload got a taste of the harsh conditions beyond the protection of the Earth's atmosphere. Temperatures dropped as low as 76 degrees below zero and atmospheric pressure was 2% of what it is at sea level. Ikaros I reached 75,774 feet over Pinnacles National Park, and experienced 173 mile-per-hour winds in the jet stream.

EMike McCardel, KC8YLD
ARRL Ohio Section Affiliated Club Coordinator
Associate Director Education, AMSAT-NA
AMSAT-Edu Moderator
Sent from my iPhone

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