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Edge of Space Sciences Balloon Flight Carrying Amateur Radio to Launch October 25

10/21/2014

Students from Colorado and New Mexico plan to launch a balloon carrying three ham radio payloads into near-space on October 25 from Deer Trail, Colorado. The Douglas County, Colorado, STEM School and STEM Academy and Spartan Amateur Radio Club, AB0BX, are sponsoring and coordinating the next Edge of Space Sciences (EOSS) balloon flight — EOSS-202. The “AB0BX Spartan Space Sciences” mission involves students from several schools and school Amateur Radio clubs. If successful, EOSS-202 will carry seven student-designed payloads to an altitude of 100,000 feet. The plan calls for recovering the parachute-equipped balloon once it descends back to Earth. Onboard ham radio payloads will help to track the balloon during flight and recovery and also transmit telemetry during the mission.

 

“On this flight we have three ham radio signals coming down from the balloon, all related to EOSS’s tracking and recovery,” Flight Coordinator Jim Langsted, KC0RPS, told ARRL. These are AE0SS, the CW beacon used for direction finding, used to help locate the payload string once the balloon is back on the ground; AE0SS-11, the primary APRS beacon, which shows the balloon’s position and provides a telemetry data stream that includes battery voltage, reference voltage, barometric pressure, inside temperature, and outside temperature, and AB0BX-11, the secondary APRS beacon. All payloads will transmit on 2 meters.

Langsted said the AE0SS payload also can receive a signal from the ground to cut away the balloon from the payload string to terminate the flight, if necessary. “A secondary flight termination method such as this is required by FAA regulation,” he explained. “The primary flight termination method is balloon burst.”

The APRS payload will transmit away from the national APRS frequency, in order to avoid interference with the Denver APRS network, which it will see in its entirety when at altitude. “We arrange for several IGATES that will port APRS from this frequency over to the APRS servers to allow real-time tracking via the internet as well as recording of the APRS history on the servers,” Langsted said. “The FAA uses this method to monitor the balloon’s position during the flight.” The beacon contains a TNC that is capable of digipeating and digital node functions. EOSS uses the digipeater capability to relay the positions of the tracking team to each other as well as back to the ground station and the Denver area.

The plan calls for seven payloads, including three from the Douglas County STEM School and Academy and Colorado Early College of Douglas County, one from the Boulder Amateur Radio Club Junior members, one from the Pueblo West Amateur Radio Club, and two from Albuquerque Public School STEM students. One of the Albuquerque payloads is a CubeSat, and the other will include a Go-Pro camera that will record the entire mission. Payloads will involve a number of experiments, including one that will attempt to answer the question, “Is there sound in space?”

Many of the students involved are radio amateurs. They include:

  • Anna Veal, W0ANT, AB0BX STEM School and Academy ARC/STEM School and Academy — Amateur Radio liaison and graphic design.
  • Skyler Fennell, KD0WHB, AB0BX STEM School and Academy ARC/Denver School of the Arts — payload team.
  • Curt Yowell, W0FGG, W0DK Boulder ARC/Red Rocks, Community College — payload team.
  • Divyam Mishra, KD0OOE, W0DK Boulder ARC/Peak to Peak Charter School — payload team.
  • Jerome Dinakar, KE0BBQ, W0DK Boulder ARC/Jefferson Academy — payload team.
  • Gary Bailey, KD0TRO, W0DK Boulder ARC/Centennial Middle School — payload team.
  • Connor Neal, KG5BFV, New Mexico STEM/Valley High School — payload team.
  • Jeremy Trujillo, KG5BFQ New Mexico STEM/Valley High School — payload team.
  • Devon Conn, KD0YZO, NA0PW Pueblo West ARC/Corwin International Magnet School — payload team.

“We have another 30 STEM students who have worked on the various payloads, many of whom are wanting to get their Amateur Radio tickets,” Langstedt said.

The alternate launch date for EOSS-202 is October 26. The payload plan has additional information.

 



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