Chippewa Falls Science

Chi Hi Geology

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This Friday 2/14/14 (Valentines Day) at 7:00 am, three staff members with a group of students from Chippewa Falls High School will be launching a high altitude balloon into 'near' space.  

With the help of retired Cray scientist Gale Sorum, our students have designed and built a balloon capable of reaching 100,000+ ft (~20 miles)!  The balloon will exit the troposphere and reach the middle of the stratosphere.  Our students will be recording temperature, light intensity, pressure, velocity, and location with the embedded electronics.  Two teams will be 'real-time' tracking the balloon using two separate systems; a commercial SPOT GPS tracking system and a Shortwave Radio tracking system over the APRS network.  From launch to landing the balloon will be airborne for over 3 hours while traversing 100+ miles.  The HD video camcorder will record footage showing the curvature of the Earth.

Message from Gale S: The Chippewa Falls High School will launch their High Altitude Balloon project

On Friday, 14 Feb, just after sunrise or around 7:00 – 7:30 AM

                There is a Ham transmitter running APRS on board transmitting on 144.390MHz.

The flight can be tracked on the web at:

WWW.APRS.FI , and then enter the call sign  WD9HFT-11

                This application is based on the Google Maps data set and should plot a track as the balloon

                Moves from Chippewa Falls toward the South East.

                The payload has three major components:

(1) A  SPOT locating transmitter that will send out a location data stream to a LEO every 10 min during the flight

This information can then be retrieved from a web page and used to determine the last know location of the payload.

(2) A data collection package using an ARUDINO microcontroller to record outside temperature and humidity,

and then inside air pressure, light intensity, and the GPS data of latitude, longutitude, altitude, and ground speed as well as date and time.

  This data is written to a SD memory card on the recorder which can be recovered when the payload is found and the card is inserted in a card reader.

(3) The third package is a Ham Radio APRS station complete with a GPS receiver, Yeasu VX-1 transceiver, a TinyTrak encoder, switching power converter and

Three 4,000MAh Lion batteries.

                If the system operates for the full flight time of three hours, the balloon should be recovered shortly before noon,

                If not, and the balloon can’t be found there will be a few disappointed students, several teachers,

                and a ham.

Predicted Trek of the Balloon
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Actual Track of the Balloon!