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Weather Ballon Flight 2016

So then, we had a challenge at the University to see if we could do one of those Helium Weather Balloon near-space shots. I was called in for my specialist photographic knowledge and along with a team we had our fist launch last week. As part of the team I also got to nominate something to send up with the computer, camera and balloon and I thought it would be funny to send one of the ReAction figures up. I didn't expect they would actually go with my suggestion, but it proved the Riff Raff figure was about the right weight for the flight and I think they liked the irony of "Space Riff".

So last Saturday (26th March 2016) at 10am we all gathered in a field just north east of London to set the balloon on it's way and off it went.

The flight lasted until the balloon hit 112,245 feet and burst, sending the computer (and Riff) back to earth. The small chute worked quite well, but as with most of these things we sat and watched the GPS signal getting further and further away as the wind blew the experiment miles and miles off course.

After several hours drive we'd got nearly all the way to Ipswich before having to leave the cars and trek for an hour across muddy fields to recover the experiment. We finally found it half buried in a field, the chute torn off in a nearby tree. I am happy to say most of the kit survived the trip and can be re-used, with the exception of the digital compact camera I had modified. Although the camera itself was a write-off we managed to recover several images from the card, I like the one shown below as it was pointing out across the sea when the exposure was made.

Space Riff!

More flights are planned and a full write up of the experiment will be published later this month, I will publish a link to the journals when available and update this page with more technical information when it is in the public domain.

Huge thanks to Chris, Darrin, Mo, Simon and the rest of the technical team for making this happen.

Dave Freeman Wednesday, March 30th, 2016

PS. Happy 1st April 2016!

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