The UK High Altitude Society Conference 2016

The 2016 UKHAS Conference will be held on Saturday 10th September 2016 at the Institute of Astronomy, University of Cambridge:

The full address is:
Institute of Astronomy
University of Cambridge,
Madingley Road,
Cambridge,
CB3 0HA

The location can be viewed at: http://www.ast.cam.ac.uk/contact/map (52.2139 0.09329)

Tickets

Tickets cost £10 each. Price includes reception coffee/tea, lunch and admission.

Use this link to get tickets.

RSGB Foundation Exam

In the last few years, a number of people have gained their RSGB Foundation Licenses at the conference. Following these successes, we are once again offering the option to complete the RSGB Foundation Practical Assessments and Exam.

All places for the exam have been taken.

Timetable

A range of talks and workshop sessions will be on offer. Full timetable to be confirmed.
We welcome any contributions and suggestions for both talks and workshops, please let us know.

09:30 Assembly – Drinks & Biscuits
10:00 Welcome & Introduction
10:10 LoRa – Dave Akerman
10:40 Evidence that Biology is Continually Arriving to Earth from Space – Prof Milton Wainwright (Univ. of Sheffield)
11:10 Operation Outward – Steve Randall
11:40 Break
12:00 Chase & Recovery – Dave Akerman
12:30 VORTEX Parachute Tests – John Underwood
13:00 Lunch
14:00 CUSF’s Martlet Rockets – Adam Greig
14:30 Introducing AirCores – Dr Johannes Laube (UEA)
15:00 Scheduled Talk Subject to Official Approval
15:30 Break
15:45 60 cu m Solar Tetroon Project – Sven Steudte
16:15 A quick guide to small superpressure – Richard Meadows (UBSEDS)
16:45 End

Overnight accommodation

There are a number of hotels and B&Bs in the Cambridge area, and many of the colleges offer rooms over the summer period.

Churchill College, next to the Institute of Astronomy, has rooms available at https://www.chu.cam.ac.uk/conferences/services/bandb/

Travel Directions & Parking Information

Further info:

On the northbound M11, leave at Junction 13 and turn right at the end of the road onto Madingley Road. You will pass the Park-n-Ride on the left. Carry on down Madingley Road and you will see the Cambridge Computer Lab on your right. Immediately turn left. The signage comes up on you pretty fast, so please be careful. Once you have turned off, the car park (about 30 spaces) is on your right. Further car parking is available up the hill (about a further 50 spaces).

If you are travelling southbound on the M11, you will need to go down one junction (to Junction 12), leave the motorway and come back onto it going in the other direction (you can’t exit the M11 at junction 13 southbound). If this is your first trip to the location we strongly encourage you not to take the back roads as they can be a bit of a maze.

The train station is 2.6 miles away to walk. Or you could take the Park and Ride bus from the city centre to Madingley Road and walk down the road to the Institute. The city bus station is 1.3 miles from the venue.

 

Jack White record label plays vinyl record in space

record in space

A record has been played in space for the first time ever.

Jack White’s label Third Man sent the record into space with a record player on a high-altitude balloon.

The record played was a gold-plated press of astronomer Carl Sagan’s spoken words.

It floated upwards for 80 minutes and got to over 28,000 metres and after reaching that height the Icarus Craft popped and fell back to Earth.

the record player back on earth

The record played from take-off and continued spinning as it travelled out on a specially modified turntable.

It then fell back to earth attached to a parachute – dropping about four times faster than it rose.

The record is the three millionth vinyl pressed by the label and it was sent into space to mark the label’s seventh anniversary.

The White Stripes frontman was pleased with the mission.

“Our main goal from inception to completion of this project was to inject imagination and inspiration into the daily discourse of music and vinyl lovers.

“We hope that in meeting our goal we inspire others to dream big and start their own missions, whatever they may be.”

Jack White

It isn’t the first time he has attempted to break a record.

In 2014, he released the world’s “fastest-released record” by recording, releasing and selling a track in one day.

He also played the “shortest gig ever” with his band the White Stripes in 2007, but Guinness World Records later removed the “shortest” category from its world record criteria.

NASA completes balloon technology test flight, sets flight duration record

NASA completes balloon technology test flight, sets flight duration record

Posted on July 2, 2016 at 5:21 pm by .

picamgondola-07021640

NASA’s Balloon Program Office successfully completed the second test flight of its Super Pressure Balloon (SPB) at 3:54 p.m. EDT, Saturday, July 2, setting a new flight duration record for a mid-latitude flight of a large scientific research balloon.

The mission, which began at 7:35 p.m. EDT, May 16 (11:35 a.m., May 17, in New Zealand time), launched from Wanaka, New Zealand, and ran a total of 46 days, 20 hours, and 19 minutes.

“We’re extremely pleased with the flight time we achieved with this mission, far and away the longest mid-latitude flight of a NASA heavy-lift balloon to date,” said Debbie Fairbrother, NASA’s Balloon Program Office chief. “We’ll continue to strive for even longer duration flight, 100 days or more, and what we learn from this year’s mission will help take us there.”

Having identified a safe landing area over the southern tip of Peru, balloon operators from NASA’s Columbia Scientific Balloon Facility in Palestine, Texas, sent flight termination commands at 3:14 p.m. EDT, July 2. The 18.8-million-cubic-foot (532,000-cubic-meter) balloon then separated from the payload rapidly deflating, and the payload floated safely to the ground touching down in a mountainous area about 20 miles north of Camana, Peru. NASA coordinated with officials in Peru prior to ending the balloon mission; recovery of the payload and balloon is in progress.

The decision to conclude the mission came after NASA’s balloon operators noted altitude variations during the last few weeks of the flight over the Pacific Ocean. The variance occurred at night and especially when flying over cold storms, with temperatures dropping as low as negative 80 degrees Celsius.

“Balloons are thermal vehicles, and some altitude variance isn’t uncommon during periods of extreme cooling and heating,” said Fairbrother. “Given the occasional periods of altitude variation we noted, and at times the magnitude we observed, we’re eager to retrieve the balloon and payload so we can analyze the flight data and balloon.”

Engineered to fly at 110,000 feet through the day/night cycle, at times the balloon dropped as low as 80,000 feet with the lowest drop nearing 70,000 feet when flying over a severe cold storm. However, at sunrise, the balloon always ascended back to 110,000 feet and repressurized.

One possible explanation for the greater degree of variance seen in this year’s flight, according to program officials, is that the balloon may have bled off some helium during one of the initial, harsher cold storms and then resealed itself. More data is needed, however, to determine the cause of the variance, underscoring the importance of recovering the balloon and payload for analysis.

“At its core, this was always a test flight,” said Fairbrother. “We’re looking forward to the this next phase of analysis. We’ll apply any lessons learned to future missions as we continue to eye our 100-day duration goal.”

A number of “firsts” were marked by this year’s SPB flight. It was the first time SPB carried a science payload, the Compton Spectrometer and Imager (COSI), during a mid-latitude flight. The science team from the University of California, Berkeley, detected their first gamma ray burst May 30. Gamma ray bursts are comprised of the most energetic form of light and can last anywhere from milliseconds to several minutes. The phenomenon is associated with many types of deep space astrophysical sources, such as supernovas and the formation of black holes. The COSI gamma ray telescope observed the burst for nearly 10 seconds.

Also, the balloon is the first to complete a mid-latitude circumnavigation, doing so in just 14 days, 13 hours, and 42 minutes. In addition, for NASA’s Balloon Program overall, it was the first time in nearly 25 years the team operated balloons in the northern and southern hemispheres concurrently, with SPB flying in the southern hemisphere and then with balloon flight operations in Palestine, Texas. The Texas flight, known as the Balloon-borne Imaging Telescope (SuperBIT), launched June 30 and ran for just over 10 hours.

“This mission marked the most rigorous test yet of a super pressure balloon and brings the NASA and the Orbital ATK Columbia Scientific Balloon Facility (CSBF) team even closer to setting a longer flight duration record in the future,” said John Pullen, vice president and general manager, Technical Services Division of Orbital ATK’s Space Systems Group. “Our Orbital ATK CSBF team is proud to have reestablished the CSBF facility as a launch site by successfully conducting the second mission on June 30 that contained the Balloon-borne Imaging Telescope. All of these accomplishments point to future growth for NASA’s scientific balloon program, which continues to offer reliable and affordable options for exploring the universe.”

This was NASA’s second mid-latitude super pressure balloon flight in the southern hemisphere. The first, in 2015, flew for 32 days. The overall flight duration record for an SPB is 54 days of flight, set in 2009 with a 7-million-cubic-foot SPB. The overall flight duration record of any NASA heavy-lift scientific balloon is 55 days, set by the Super-TIGER flight over Antarctica in 2013.

NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia manages the agency’s scientific balloon flight program with 10 to 15 flights each year from launch sites worldwide. Orbital ATK, which operates NASA’s Columbia Scientific Balloon Facility in Palestine, Texas, provides mission planning, engineering services and field operations for NASA’s scientific balloon program. The CSBF team has launched more than 1,700 scientific balloons in the over 35 years of operation.

For more information on NASA’s Balloon Program, visit: www.nasa.gov/scientificballoons.

Tweets from Space

http://www.projectedge.net/sentinel/

Tomorrow, two students from Imperial College, London, hope to launch a HAB flight from Cambridge with a Pi in the Sky radio tracker which will tweet.

The project payload will be transmitting on the following frequencies:

Payload ID IBMICLSentinel, RTTY, 434.250MHz, 850Hz shift, 300 baud, 8 N 2, SSDV and telemetry.

Payload ID Sky1LoRa, LoRa, 869.850MHz, “Mode 1” Implicit mode, Error coding 4:5, Bandwidth 20.8kHz, SF 6, Low data rate optimize off SSDV and telemetry.

Payload ID Sky2LoRa, LoRa, 434.750MHz, “Mode 1” Implicit mode, Error coding 4:5, Bandwidth 20.8kHz, SF 6, Low data rate optimize off SSDV and telemetry. Every 30 seconds Sky2LoRa listens for incoming transmissions for 10 seconds.

The payload will also display tweets. If you want your tweet to be displayed then you need to tweet your message to @IBMICLSentinel with #tospace followed by your message.

The HAB flight sits within a wider project in which IBM has collaborated with the Imperial College Electrical Engineering Department to incorporate its image recognition technology and cloud capabilities with low-cost, durable electronics,  in-order to build a groundbreaking cognitive probe which can identify potential hazards. The Sentinel will use its collected data to warn responsible authorities and first-responders in cases of emergency such as forest fires or flooding so that. The sentinel will also analyse social feeds on Twitter to draw a deeper insight into the nature of an unfolding event.

 

Royal Aeronautical Society Balloon Challenge

http://www.bdballoonchallenge.org

boscombe down balloon challenge

The Boscombe Downs branch of the RAeS are running a STEM outreach event for schools. The aim is for schools to

  • Build a working telemetry unit and launch it on a high altitude balloon flight.

 

There are also prizes for the schools that:

 

  • Achieve the highest altitude in flight.

 

  • Achieve the longest time in the air.

 

  • Achieve the furthest distance travelled from your launch site.

The prizes are £1000 each and have been kindly donated by QinetiQ and Southampton University. Also they will provide the helium for the first 18 schools to register. (Other sponsorship may also follow.)
To keep both cost and risk down to a minimum, the competition is limited to pico class balloon flights and helium gas. More information on the rules of the competition can be found at http://www.bdballoonchallenge.org/rules.html

http://www.bdballoonchallenge.org The Boscombe Downs branch of the RAeS are running a STEM outreach event for schools. The aim is for schools to

  • Build a working telemetry unit and launch it on a high altitude balloon flight.

 

There are also prizes for the schools that:

 

  • Achieve the highest altitude in flight.

 

  • Achieve the longest time in the air.

 

  • Achieve the furthest distance travelled from your launch site.

The prizes are £1000 each and have been kindly donated by QinetiQ and Southampton University. Also they will provide the helium for the first 18 schools to register. (Other sponsorship may also follow.)
To keep both cost and risk down to a minimum, the competition is limited to pico class balloon flights and helium gas. More information on the rules of the competition can be found at http://www.bdballoonchallenge.org/rules.html

Super launch in the UK today

Today there will be a ‘super launch’ of 25 high altitude balloons. The flight, due to take off from Severn Park in Bridgnorth are part of a business funded school project supporting science, technology, engineering, and maths. The launch, organised by Sent into Space, can be tracked on the Habitat HAB tracker at

http://tracker.habhub.org

The balloons will be launched from 10:00 onwards and will go up in batches of 5.