First image from Galasat ONE

The mission GalaSat ONE took place yesterday October 23 at 11:50 am from Palma del Rio, Cordoba. Due to westerly winds aloft, our balloon travelled 66’93 km east to a large hunting farm on an elevated position with breathtaking views of San Rafael de Navallana’s dam where it was recovered at 17:30 pm.

Balloon bursting

This first photo above shows the remains of our high altitude balloon just after it burst far above the city of Cordoba in the south of Spain. The bursting point was reached at 27.602 meters where it is possible to see the curvature of the earth. Apart from that, this picture shows us the thin blue line. Note that since there are too few air molecules at altitudes above about 18.300 m to effectively scatter sunlight, the sky appears essentially black.

Our balloon and payload ascended into the sky at a rate of 5’33 m/s. All such high altitude balloons burst when the atmospheric air pressure is too low to contain the expanding volume of the gas within the balloon. After bursting, the payload descended back to earth at an average rate of 24’16 m/s. Our balloon’s capsule was retrieved intact and will be re-used for a future launch.

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Last flight prediction

Predicting your balloon’s flight path is a requirement in Spain and the results must be provided to ENAIRE before launch. Fortunately, there are many easy-to-use online calculators that can estimate your path.

The most popular online flight prediction tool is the Cambridge University Spaceflight Landing Predictor (CUSF). Given a few parameters this site spit out a predicted flight trajectory overlaid on a 2D interactive map, which can be exported in KML (Keyhole Markup Language) format and loaded into Google Earth, giving you the ability to dynamically navigate your entire flight path at every altitude over a detailed 3D representation of the planet.

Four hours before, here you are our flight prediction.

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We’ve just received balloon flight permission!!!

After two previous cancelled flights, today we have received an email from ENAIRE and finally we have got our weather balloon flight permission. Everything is almost ready for Launch Day.

Poster 19-10-2015
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Testing APRS Transmitter

In order to check our APRS Transmitter we have got in touch with a local paramotor club because we are interested on testing it at standard conditions. Thanks to Juan and Mariano, two of its members, we have tested the High Altitude APRS Transmitter this morning. Due to bad weather conditions our device only went up up to 397 meters.

From the earth we have observed the track thanks to this site and then we have been able to analyze the whole track on Google Earth.

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A powered paraglider trike with our APRS transmitter
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Paraglide flight
A powered paraglider in flight
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Mr. Juan Losada (an experienced pilot of paragliding)
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GPS position from the APRS transmitter
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Hope is the last thing to lose

After summer holidays we have contacted with Spanish National Aviation Authority (AESA). Mrs. Elsa Solera de Andrés informed us that difficulties, due to European regulation about HAB’s, have not disappeared.

After that our launch was cancelled last June, we decided to apply for a new HAB flight next autumn. Taking last news into account, we are not confident that our launch will happen. However, we are working to improve each detail related to Galasat Project.

Yes Maybe No
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HAB flight has been cancelled

Unfortunately, we have just received an email from Spanish National Aviation Authority that informed us that our HAB flight has been cancelled because of a upcoming European regulation about HAB’s.

As the saying goes, “Where there is a will there is a way.” We must not give up under any circumstances. So we have decided to apply to a new HAB flight for next Autumn. Anyway, we want to express our gratitude to Mrs. Elsa Solera de Andrés from Spanish National Aviation Authority for her generous support in order to achieve a suitable solution. Thanks for your patience and understanding. We hope that next Autumn will be a perfect season to our HAB flight.

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Finalizing details with URC

Today we have had last meeting, before the launch, with the members of URC (Cordoba Amateur Radio Society) in order to organize the search. Its president Pedro Luque EA7AEB has always shown full availability to collaborate on this project.

According the the prediction (ASTRA High Altitude Balloon Flight Planner), one vehicle will move toward the predicted landing site. This group will have the proper equipment to receive tracking data of our HAB via APRS.

Pedro Luque
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Building a balloon inflator

We need a way to move the helium from our tank into the balloon. A Weather Balloon Inflator allows us to inflate our weather balloon with ease, safety, and confidence.

The balloon inflation tube keeps the balloon neck open and provides a sturdy nozzle to push helium through. Using the inflation tube doesn’t need to be an exact science, especially since it is designed for ease of use.

When you are filling your balloon the best way to know you have got the right amount of gas is to weigh the pull of the balloon. We use a scale to ensure how much lift the balloon will provide.

To read the scale, leave the balloon taped to the inflation tube and let the balloon lift both the tube and one end of the scale. The PVC tube weighs about 0.45 Kg, so we should read the Neck Lift (how much the inflated balloon will lift) as 0.45 Kg plus what the scale indicates. The greatest amount of success for most flights is when the neck lift is plus the weight of the payload.

Balloon inflator
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Our Launch Day is decided!!!

Taking some factors into account such as better weather conditions, more time availability, more sunlight at this time of year. We have decided to set our Launch Day next 18th June 2015 at 11:00 am.

In spite of there is so much time until launch day we do not want to run any risk. So that, we have just submitted the form to obtain authorization to launch our High Altitude Balloon from the Spanish National Aviation Authority.

18 June
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Provincial government will support our project

All the members of our Galasat Team have moved to Cordoba to explain in detail the aims of our Near Space School Project. We have been received at the offices of the Provincial Government by its second Vice President Mr. Salvador Blanco Fuentes.

We have explained the main aims of Galasat and how our project works. The Vice President have shown a great interest to support our project according to develop abilities related to thinking skills, teamwork and problem solving.

We are grateful for the attention received and hope to get the necessary financial support to carry out our project.

Provincial government photo
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