HAB rules around the world

Following several requests for links to government agencies responsible for permitting HAB flights I’ve started this post which I hope readers can contribute to. It is a list of countries and a link to web pages where HABists can apply to launch their next flight.

  1.  Afghanistan – Islamic Republic of Afghanistan
  2.  Albania – Republic of Albania
  3.  Algeria – People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria
  4.  Andorra – Principality of Andorra
  5.  Angola – Republic of Angola
  6.  Antigua and Barbuda
  7.  Argentina – Argentine Republic[Note 7]
  8.  Armenia – Republic of Armenia
  9.  Australia – Commonwealth of Australia Rules:http://www.casa.gov.au/scripts/nc.dll?WCMS:STANDARD::pc=PC_91039 Permission:
  10.  Austria – Republic of Austria
  11.  Azerbaijan – Republic of Azerbaijan
  12.  Bahamas, The – Commonwealth of The Bahamas
  13.  Bahrain – Kingdom of Bahrain
  14.  Bangladesh – People’s Republic of Bangladesh
  15.  Barbados
  16.  Belarus – Republic of Belarus
  17.  Belgium – Kingdom of Belgium
  18.  Belize
  19.  Benin – Republic of Benin[Note 9]
  20.  Bhutan – Kingdom of Bhutan
  21.  Bolivia – Plurinational State of Bolivia
  22.  Bosnia and Herzegovina
  23.  Botswana – Republic of Botswana Rules:http://www.caab.co.bw/tempx/file/SI-24-23-03-2012-CIV-AIR-TRA-MD.pdf   Application: In writing to the director of flight safety
  24.  Brazil – Federative Republic of Brazil
  25.  Brunei – Nation of Brunei, Abode of Peace
  26.  Bulgaria – Republic of Bulgaria
  27.  Burkina Faso[Note 12]
  28.  Burma – Republic of the Union of Myanmar[Note 13][9]
  29.  Burundi – Republic of Burundi
  30.  Cambodia – Kingdom of Cambodia
  31.  Cameroon – Republic of Cameroon
  32.  Canada[Note 14]
  33.  Cape Verde – Republic of Cape Verde
  34.  Central African Republic
  35.  Chad – Republic of Chad
  36.  Chile – Republic of Chile
  37.  China – People’s Republic of China[Note 15]
  38. China, Republic of → Taiwan
  39.  Colombia – Republic of Colombia
  40.  Comoros – Union of the Comoros
  41.  Congo, Democratic Republic of the[Note 21]
  42.  Congo, Republic of the[Note 22]
  43. Cook Islands → Cook Islands
  44.  Costa Rica – Republic of Costa Rica
  45.  Côte d’Ivoire – Republic of Côte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast)
  46.  Croatia – Republic of Croatia
  47.  Cuba – Republic of Cuba
  48.  Cyprus – Republic of Cyprus
  49.  Czech Republic[Note 23]
  50. Democratic People’s Republic of Korea → Korea, North
  51. Democratic Republic of the Congo → Congo, Democratic Republic of the
  52.  Denmark – Kingdom of Denmark Rules:BL7-9_ud2 (1) Permission:
  53.  Faroe Islands (Føroyar/Færøerne)
  54.  Greenland (Kalaallit Nunaat/Grønland)
  55.  Djibouti – Republic of Djibouti
  56.  Dominica – Commonwealth of Dominica
  57.  Dominican Republic
  58.  East Timor – Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste[Note 24]
  59.  Ecuador – Republic of Ecuador
  60.  Egypt – Arab Republic of Egypt
  61.  El Salvador – Republic of El Salvador
  62.  Equatorial Guinea – Republic of Equatorial Guinea
  63.  Eritrea – State of Eritrea
  64.  Estonia – Republic of Estonia
  65.  Ethiopia – Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia
  66.  Fiji – Republic of Fiji
  67. Finland – Republic of Finland
  68.  Åland is a neutral and demilitarised autonomous region of Finland.[Note 6][Note 25]
  69.  France – French Republic
  70.  Clipperton Island
  71.  French Polynesia
  72.  New Caledonia
  73.  Saint Barthélemy
  74.  Saint Martin
  75.  Saint Pierre and Miquelon
  76.  Wallis and Futuna
  77.  French Southern and Antarctic Lands (includes the Antarctic claim of Adélie Land).[Note 8]
  78.  Gabon – Gabonese Republic
  79. Gambia  Gambia, The – Republic of the Gambia
  80.  Georgia
  81.  Germany – Federal Republic of Germany
  82.  Ghana – Republic of Ghana
  83.  Greece – Hellenic Republic
  84.  Grenada
  85.  Guatemala – Republic of Guatemala
  86.  Guinea – Republic of Guinea[Note 26]
  87.  Guinea-Bissau – Republic of Guinea-Bissau
  88.  Guyana – Co-operative Republic of Guyana
  89.  Haiti – Republic of Haiti
  90. Holy See → Vatican City
  91.  Honduras – Republic of Honduras
  92.  Hungary Rules:a light category unmanned weather balloon with the maximum gross weight of 4kg can be launched without any restrictions http://www.complex.hu/jr/gen/hjegy_doc.cgi?docid=A0000014.KOV Application: NA
  93.  Iceland – Republic of Iceland
  94.  India – Republic of India Rules: There is no information on the internet. One needs to get permission from the  Air Traffic Control station closest to the flight, as well as from the Air Force Base in case there is one nearby. If there is any radio transmission then one must get permission directly from the Department of Telecommunications
  95.  Indonesia – Republic of Indonesia
  96.  Iran – Islamic Republic of Iran
  97.  Iraq – Republic of Iraq
  98.  Ireland Rules:http://www.irishstatutebook.ie/1999/en/si/0422.html Permission:
  99.  Israel – State of Israel
  100.  Italy – Italian Rules: Italy You should fill the appropriate form (page 13 and 14) and send it to the competent Enac Airport Division. The address can be found at http://www.enac.gov.it/La_Comunicazione/Amministrazione_trasparente/Organizzazione/Articolazione_degli_uffici/Direzioni_Centrali/info-459362178.html
  101. Ivory Coast → Côte d’Ivoire
  102.  Jamaica Rules:http://www.jcaa.gov.jm/Act_Regulation/CIVIL%20AVIATION%20REGULATIONS.pdf Permission:
  103.  Japan
  104.  Jordan – Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan
  105.  Kazakhstan – Republic of Kazakhstan
  106.  Kenya – Republic of Kenya
  107.  Kiribati – Republic of Kiribati
  108.  Korea, North – Democratic People’s Republic of Korea
  109.  Korea, South – Republic of Korea
  110. Kosovo → Kosovo
  111.  Kuwait – State of Kuwait
  112.  Kyrgyzstan – Kyrgyz Republic
  113.  Laos – Lao People’s Democratic Republic
  114.  Latvia – Republic of Latvia
  115.  Lebanon – Lebanese Republic
  116.  Lesotho – Kingdom of Lesotho
  117.  Liberia – Republic of Liberia
  118.  Libya – State of Libya
  119.  Liechtenstein – Principality of Liechtenstein
  120.  Lithuania – Republic of Lithuania
  121.  Luxembourg – Grand Duchy of Luxembourg
  122.  Macedonia – Republic of Macedonia
  123.  Madagascar – Republic of Madagascar
  124.  Malawi – Republic of Malawi
  125.  Malaysia
  126.  Maldives – Republic of Maldives
  127.  Mali – Republic of Mali
  128.  Malta – Republic of Malta
  129.  Marshall Islands – Republic of the Marshall Islands
  130.  Mauritania – Islamic Republic of Mauritania
  131.  Mauritius – Republic of Mauritius
  132.  Mexico – United Mexican States
  133.  Micronesia, Federated States of
  134.  Moldova – Republic of Moldova
  135.  Monaco – Principality of Monaco
  136.  Mongolia
  137.  Montenegro
  138.  Morocco – Kingdom of Morocco
  139.  Mozambique – Republic of Mozambique
  140. Myanmar → Burma
  141. Nagorno-Karabakh → Nagorno-Karabakh
  142.  Namibia – Republic of Namibia
  143.  Nauru – Republic of Nauru
  144.    Nepal – Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal
  145.  Netherlands
  146.  Aruba
  147.  Curaçao
  148.  Sint Maarten
  149.  New Zealand Rules:http://www.caa.govt.nz/rules/Rule_Consolidations/Part_101_Consolidation.pdf Permission: No permission required https://www.caa.govt.nz/rules/Part_101_Brief.htm
  150.  Tokelau
  151.  Cook Islands
  152.  Niue
  153. Nicaragua – Republic of Nicaragua
  154.  Niger – Republic of Niger
  155.  Nigeria – Federal Republic of Nigeria
  156. Northern Cyprus → Northern Cyprus
  157. North Korea → Korea, North
  158.  Norway – Kingdom of Norway
  159. Bouvet Island
  160. Peter I Island[Note 8]
  161. Queen Maud Land[Note 8]
  162.  Oman – Sultanate of Oman
  163.  Pakistan – Islamic Republic of Pakistan
  164.  Azad Kashmir
  165.  Gilgit–Baltistan
  166.  Palau – Republic of Palau
  167.  Palestine – State of Palestine
  168.  Panama – Republic of Panama
  169.  Papua New Guinea – Independent State of Papua New Guinea
  170.  Paraguay – Republic of Paraguay
  171.  Peru – Republic of Peru
  172.  Philippines – Republic of the Philippines
  173.  Poland – Republic of Poland
  174.  Portugal – Portuguese Republic
  175. Pridnestrovie → Transnistria
  176.  Qatar – State of Qatar
  177. Republic of Korea → Korea, South
  178. Republic of the Congo → Congo, Republic of the
  179.  Romania
  180.  Russia – Russian Federation
  181.  Rwanda – Republic of Rwanda
  182. Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic → Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic
  183.  Saint Kitts and Nevis – Federation of Saint Kitts and Nevis
  184.  Saint Lucia
  185.  Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
  186.  Samoa – Independent State of Samoa
  187.  San Marino – Republic of San Marino
  188.  São Tomé and Príncipe – Democratic Republic of São Tomé and Príncipe
  189.  Saudi Arabia – Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
  190.  Senegal – Republic of Senegal
  191.  Serbia – Republic of Serbia
  192.  Seychelles – Republic of Seychelles
  193.  Sierra Leone – Republic of Sierra Leone
  194.  Singapore – Republic of Singapore  http://www.caas.gov.sg/caas/en/Regulations/Airspace_Management/Air_Navigation_Hazard_x_Obstruction_Policies/Helium_Balloon_Release.html#
  195.  Slovakia – Slovak Republic Rules: L2_pravidla_lietania  Application:
  196.  Slovenia – Republic of Slovenia
  197.  Solomon Islands
  198.  Somalia – Federal Republic of Somalia
  199. Somaliland → Somaliland
  200.  South Africa – Republic of South Africa
  201. South Korea → Korea, South
  202. South Ossetia → South Ossetia
  203.  South Sudan – Republic of South Sudan
  204.  Spain – Kingdom of Spain Rules:RCA Globos Libres No Tripulados Apendice S Permission : No permission required under 4kg payload
  205.  Sri Lanka – Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka
  206.  Sudan – Republic of the Sudan
  207. Sudan, South → South Sudan
  208.  Suriname – Republic of Suriname
  209.  Swaziland – Kingdom of Swaziland
  210.  Sweden – Kingdom of Sweden http://www.transportstyrelsen.se/sv/Luftfart/Flygplatser-och-flygtrafiktjanst/Flygtrafiktjanst/Ballonger/
  211.   Switzerland – Swiss Confederation In Switzerland, the authority in charge of air traffic control is the Bundessamt Luftfahrt (Federal Office of Civil Aviation). There were three articles that needed to be followed – Articles 16, 19 and 20.Article 16:This article states the restrictions of launching free balloons. The article says that it is forbidden to launch free balloons with a payload of more than 2 kg or with gas more than 30 m^3 volume. The second part says that it is forbidden to launch free balloons with more that 1 m^3 gas at a distance of less than 5 km from a civilian or military airbase to avoid any fatal aircraft crashes.Article 19
    This article states the cantonal regulations of flying unmanned aircrafts. The article says that all unmanned aircrafts should be less than 30 kg to minimize environmental impacts and risk for people and property. Since this article was not related directly to my project, it wasn’t followed as closely.Article 20
    This article states that the third parties on the ground should be insured by a liability insurance policy with a guaranteed amount of at least 1 million Swiss Francs. The second part of this article says that liability insurance is not required for parachutes weighing less than 1.0 kg and a have a vertical height of less than 60 m. Balloons with a payload of less than 0.5 kg and a volume of less than 30 m^3 and model aircrafts weighing less than 0.5 kg do not require liability insurance. The third part says that proof of liability insurance must be kept at all times during the operation.
    All these rules and regulations were considered while creating my balloon – the payload of my balloon was much less than 2 kg, the balloon contained only 3 m^3 helium and the balloon was launched about 8 km away from the Basel Airport. Our payload was more than 0.5 kg but we were insured by a liability insurance policy and proof of this was kept at all times during the operation.
  212.  Syria – Syrian Arab Republic
  213. Taiwan (Republic of China) → Taiwan
  214.  Tajikistan – Republic of Tajikistan
  215.  Tanzania – United Republic of Tanzania
  216.  Thailand – Kingdom of Thailand
  217. Timor-Leste → East Timor
  218.  Togo – Togolese Republic
  219.  Tonga – Kingdom of Tonga
  220. Transnistria → Transnistria
  221.  Trinidad and Tobago – Republic of Trinidad and Tobago
  222.  Tunisia – Republic of Tunisia
  223.  Turkey – Republic of Turkey
  224.  Turkmenistan
  225.  Tuvalu
  226.  Uganda – Republic of Uganda
  227.  Ukraine
  228.  United Arab Emirates
  229.  United Kingdom – United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland Permission:http://www.caa.co.uk/application.aspx?catid=33&pagetype=65&appid=11&mode=detail&id=4409   Rules:
  230.  Akrotiri and Dhekelia
  231.  Anguilla
  232.  Bermuda
  233.  British Indian Ocean Territory (disputed by Mauritius and Seychelles)[4]
  234.  British Virgin Islands
  235.  Cayman Islands
  236.  Falkland Islands (claimed by Argentina)[4]
  237.  Gibraltar (status disputed by Spain)
  238.  Montserrat
  239.  Pitcairn Islands
  240.  Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha
  241.  South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands
  242.  Turks and Caicos Islands
  243.  British Antarctic Territory[Note 8] (disputed by Argentina and Chile)
  244.  Guernsey, with three dependencies:
  245.  Alderney
  246.  Herm
  247.  Sark
  248.  Isle of Man
  249.  Jersey
  250.  United States – United States of America Application: Rules http://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/text-idx?c=ecfr&rgn=div5&view=text&node=14:
  251.  American Samoa (including Swains Island, disputed by Tokelau)
  252.  Guam
  253.  Northern Mariana Islands
  254.  Puerto Rico
  255.  U.S. Virgin Islands
  256. Baker Island
  257. Howland Island
  258. Jarvis Island
  259. Johnston Atoll
  260. Kingman Reef
  261. Midway Atoll
  262. Navassa Island (claimed by Haiti)
  263. Wake Island (claimed by the Marshall Islands)
  264.  Marshall Islands – Republic of the Marshall Islands
  265.  Micronesia – Federated States of Micronesia
  266.  Palau – Republic of Palau
  267.  Uruguay – Oriental Republic of Uruguay
  268.  Uzbekistan – Republic of Uzbekistan
  269.  Vanuatu – Republic of Vanuatu
  270.   Vatican City – Vatican City State
  271.  Venezuela – Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela
  272.  Vietnam – Socialist Republic of Vietnam
  273.  Yemen – Republic of Yemen
  274.  Zambia – Republic of Zambia
  275.  Zimbabwe – Republic of Zimbabwe

Other states

Abkhazia – Republic of Abkhazia

Cook Islands

Kosovo – Republic of Kosovo

Nagorno-Karabakh – Nagorno-Karabakh Republic


Northern Cyprus – Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus

Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic

Somaliland – Republic of Somaliland

South Ossetia – Republic of South Ossetia

Taiwan – Republic of China[Note 15]

Transnistria – Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic

Main spacenear.us web page is temporarily disabled

Operaters of the Spacenear.us radio tracking web page have informed the community that users are temporarily being sent to the mobile enabled web site while the main web page is being updated. Anthony Stirk of UKHAS said in a post,

“As some of you have noticed http://spacenear.us/tracker is redirecting to the mobile tracker site at this time. Google have or are in the process of retiring the V2 API that we use for this so on certain (seemingly increasing number of) platforms the map wasn’t displaying any more.
The Habhub team are working on this as fast as possible but bear with us as it could be a complex job.”
To keep up to date with the progress of this, follow the latest news at the UKHAS message board.


Stratocaching high altitude balloon flight organisers positive about flight results

The organisers have given us an insight into the organisation of the flight and how well it went on the day.


1. How did the flight go? I watched it but missed the end. Did the seeds deploy correctly and were they found?

The flight was surprisingly smooth, all the electronic systems worked well. The Dropion landed in Cerhovice (we didn’t publish the final descent route online) in a private garden next to a swimming pool All the 12 seeds (10 Stratocache and Radioseeds) got frozen (we still analyze the reason, they had been tested with a meteorological sonde and included a battery pack of Energizer Lithium AAA batteries. But the first seed landed on a garden in Chrást u Plzně and the owner called us. In 10 minutes, 250 “stratocachers arrived! Finally 4 seeds were found – you can see them on Stratocaching.cz – click on Axis, Grafite, BASF and Citroen. You can see the report here:http://www.facebook.com/l/hAQGh4D8oAQEPhLE8WuR9EPMQtYVhwlvGQ0UqGw-jO6zBHA/technet.idnes.cz/starujeme-stratocashing-miri-do-stratosfery-fa1-/online.aspx?online=1005412

2. In general terms how were the tv pictures transmitted? Was it SSDV? Did you need special permission to do this from the government?

The video stream was done using IP camera Axis 2014 with a special tunning. We used Microtic router, poE injector an a special antenna – it was a Wi_FI transmittion with a frequence 2397 MHZ (legal if you own the HAM radio licence). We think the fluent video was a kind of miracle. We had one 120cm parabolic antena with an APRS driven rotator at the meteorological observatory (place of the start)

3. Did you need special permission from the Czech civil aviation authority?

Yes, getting the permission from CAA to do this was an experiment of its own…. We had to prove the kinetic energy of all the 93g seeds (descent 2,5 m/s – 5,6 m/s – but only if they rotate!) First prototypes of the seeds were not stabile – the seeds sometimes didnt start the rotation, so we had to make changes in the seed design (14 different designs) – and then we had to show the final design of all 12 seeds to the CAA inspectors by throwing them from a 50m meteorological tower!

4. Will you all be having another go?

As soon as we rest a little bit and analyse the results, we will think of a possible Stratocaching 2 project. There were houndreds of geocachers out there searching for seeds, a lot of fun! When we solve the GPS tracker issue and other issues (special mobille app Stratocaching was not working well, the rules of the game were not ideal…), it will be even better.

Many thanks to the Stratoteam for answering our questions. The whole project reminds me of the MASS EFFECT video game launch promotion, carried out by Project Aether 2 years ago, and the Dutch HAM ‘fox hunt’ game. But the activity is taken to a whole new level. It will be really interesting to see if they iron out some of the technical problems. Questions also arise about the seeds falling on land where the owner does not want hundreds of treasure hunters turning up, but it seems to have been taken in good heart by members of the Czech public. Given the inventive nature of the project, we are nominating it for the BN ‘high 5’ award in this years BN annual awards.






News on the Stratocaching launch in Prague


We followed the launch of the Stratocaching HAB flight from Prague which seeks to emulate the fun of Geocaching. Here are some pictures from the live feed of the launch and flight.

Can you spot the dog guarding the balloon?

Can you spot the dog guarding the balloon?











Michal Škach, a participant of the Stratocaching said, “About the finish: Dropion flight to the height 31000m. Time up was 1 hour. Down was time about 1 hour 30 minutes. Dropion was found in Cerhovice village. Near Beroun. Fall to civil house on the garden. Then was long waiting for caches. Only 4 caches from 10 finnaly send coordinates and was found. Here is my photo with first cache.”



4 Things for the High Altitude Balloonist’s Christmas list

4 Things for the High Altitude Balloonist’s Christmas list


The build up to Christmas seems to start straight after Guy Forkes night. So here are a few things to mention to relatives when they look for ideas for your present.

Cameras – Go Pro Hero 3+ Black edition £359.99


hero 3 plus

The update to the Go Pro Hero 3, the originally titled Go Pro Hero 3+, is out there and sporting some features that will interest the HABist who has an older model, or who is investing in their first action camera.

This is what Go Pro say about the Hero 3+

The Go Pro hero 3+ is …“20% smaller and lighter than its best-selling predecessor, it delivers improved image quality and powerful new features geared for versatility and convenience. SuperView™ is a new video mode that captures the world’s most immersive wide angle perspective, while Auto Low Light mode intelligently adjusts frame rate for stunning low-light performance. Combined with 30% longer battery life, 4x faster Wi-Fi, a sharper lens and compatibility with all GoPro mounts and accessories, the HERO3+ Black Edition is the most advanced GoPro yet.

Stunning video quality has made GoPro the world’s best-selling camera company, and the HERO3+ Black Edition continues this tradition. High-resolution, high-frame rate 1440p48, 1080p60, 960p100 and 720p120 video modes result in professional quality footage and allow for liquid-smooth slow motion playback. 4Kp15 and 2.7Kp30 enable ultra high-resolution, cinema quality capture.”

Better performance at low light levels and longer battery life will be an advantage to HABists. As will the lower weight. HABist John Flaig, from USA, has already tried out the Go Pro Hero 3+ and notes a word of caution. John said, “In testing so far, the battery life is not long enough, even with the bacpac, to get 3-4 hours recording at the highest quality settings. I also had to get a 64gb card and an external battery (Anker Astro Mini 3000mAh) to record for longer.”

Trackers HABduino £100



HABduino is the first ‘Off the shelf’ radio tracker to come to the marketplace. It should open up radio tracking to a wider section of the HABing community.

This is what the inventor, Anthony Stirk, has said about it,

“The Habduino Project is an open source sheild and code for Arduino™ designed to transmit the current location via a radio transmitter. Its features include :

• Compatible with Duemilanovo, Uno and Leonardo boards.

• On board step up to permit operation from 2 x AA batteries.

• Ublox MAX6/7 GPS designed for high altitude use.

• 70cms frequency agile TCXO equipped transmitter for RTTY.

• Optional 300mW 2 meter transmitter for APRS.

• Interupt driven simultaneous APRS and RTTY transmission.

• On board temperature sensor.”

HABduino has been given the thumbs up by those HABists who have used it but you will also need to buy an Arduino micro controller, suitable antenna, and Funcube dongle for your laptop to get the best out of HABduino. This more than doubles the initial outlay. You also have to solder up an aerial but it is worth it.

Stocking fillers

TileApp $19.95



Has your payload ever landed in dense undergrowth or a crop? Mine has. Some kind of short distance locating device would be ideal to take you the last 30 metres to recover your payload. The Tile is not yet released but may offer the solution.

Book Drifting on Alien Winds: Exploring the Skies by Michael Carroll



Armed with egg nogg, chestnuts, and your new woolly jumper why not settle into your favourite chair with a good book? Drifting on Alien Winds is a great book on the nature of the atmosphere on planets in our solar system. After a read of this you can dream of your first extra-terrestrial HAB project.





Science curriculum coverage from high altitude balloon project

Science curriculum coverage from high altitude balloon project

 By Jon Chippindall


In my previous post I was please to report on the successful launch of the Manchester Meteor High Altitude balloon which reached approximately 90000 feet and took some stunning photos of Earth. As a follow up to the project, this post details which elements of the upper Key Stage 2 2014 science curriculum can be targeted, and how, by taking part in this project.

Working Scientifically


  • planning different types of scientific enquiries to answer questions, including recognising and controlling variables where necessary
  • taking measurements, using a range of scientific equipment, with increasing accuracy and precision
  • recording data and results of increasing complexity using scientific diagrams and labels, classification keys, tables, and bar and line graphs
  • using test results to make predictions to set up further comparative and fair tests
  • reporting and presenting findings from enquiries, including conclusions, causal relationships and explanations of results, in oral and written forms such as displays and other presentations

Pupils could complete ‘drop tests’ with different sized parachutes to measure descent speeds (or time to land from a set height if the link between speed, distance and time is not introduced). Descent speed for the payload is important as if it is too slow the payload is likely to drift greater distances from the launch point and if it is too quick it risks being damaged on landing or damaging things, or people, it lands on! Pupils could plot descent speeds for various sized parachutes and use these graphs to predict the descent rates for sizes not tested. Such sizes could subsequently be tested to check prediction accuracy.

Another investigation could be set up to investigate the best material to make the payload from. Children could test the impact strength of different foams by dropping them or dropping weights on them and measure indentations. Pupils could then discuss that stronger, more protective materials may be heavier so it is important to compromise which satisfies the design considerations of durability and weight. This ‘theme’ of finding an optimal compromise for several design considerations is fundamental to engineering problems time and time again.

  • using simple models to describe scientific ideas

Both of the investigations above provide significant scope for pupils to describe their scientific thinking drawing on models they have previously been taught. They could, for example, consider what they understand to make up a gas in order to think about why a larger parachute slows the payload descent. What is air resistance and how does it come about? Likewise, why is the payload falling to Earth? Pupils could also consider their knowledge of the model of a solid to consider why some materials are stronger than others – is there a link here to why some materials are heavier than others?

In addition to the experiments described above, the balloon project provides further scope for pupils to articulate their scientific understanding through simple models:

They may, for example, consider why the balloon expands when filled with helium?

What forces are acting on the balloon?

Why does the helium provide lift?

Why doesn’t the person holding the balloon float off? Are the forces balanced when the balloon is tethered? What about when it is released?

Why will the balloon not rise vertically? What does this tell use about the forces acting on the balloon? (And why doesn’t it come down vertically too?)

Properties and changes of materials


  • compare and group together everyday materials based on evidence from comparative and fair tests, including their hardness, solubility, transparency, conductivity (electrical and thermal), and response to magnets
  • give reasons, based on evidence from comparative and fair tests, for the particular uses of everyday materials, including metals, wood and plastic

Knowledge of materials and their properties is important to complete this project successfully. Pupils could consider each of the components in turn and think about how the materials’ properties make it suitable for the job. Why is the balloon latex? Why is the parachute nylon? A fun activity here would be for pupils to redesign the balloon with each component made from an entirely unsuitable material – would a concrete payload with tissue parachute work!?

Earth and Space:


  • describe the Sun, Earth and Moon as approximately spherical bodies
  • use the idea of the Earth’s rotation to explain day and night

I don’t think I can think of a better way to demonstrate to pupils that the Earth is spherical than by showing them! And this is exactly what can be achieved by sending a camera to 90000 feet above the Earth. As will have seen from the shots we got back, the curvature of the Earth is clear J

Likewise, from this perspective, pupils can see the Sun as another spherical body. Furthermore, from the perspective of space, it is easier to imagine that we (Earth) are rotating around the Sun as opposed (as it appears form Earth) that the Sun travels around us – and consequently across the sky.


  • explain that unsupported objects fall towards the Earth because of the force of gravity acting between the Earth and the falling object
  • identify the effects of air resistance, water resistance and friction, that act between moving surfaces

Please refer above for how the forces objectives can be explored through a science investigation considering the forces acting upon the balloon, parachute and payload.






Information courtesy of Ivan Sobička
The first experimental flight STRATOCACHING, as a result of cooperation between Žádná věda association and Stsproject.net, will take place on 16 November, 2013.
Launch Date: 16-th November 2013
Launch Time: 8:00 UTC
Launch Location: Czech Hydrometeorological Institute Prague, Czech Republic
Stratocaching is a unique idea combining launch of a stratospheric balloon with a geocaching game. The Czech association Žádná věda (meaning Not a Rocket Sciencewith a cooperation of Stsproject.net is goung to launch a special ballon set with a gondola called Dropion that includes 12 flying modules with GPS trackers called Stratocache. The modules (an imitation of maple seed design) will be released in the stratosphere and after they fall somewhere in the Czech republic (hopefully!), a geocaching hunt for Stratocaches will be started. The project has attracted many fans (there are 60.000 active geocachers in the Czech Republic) – and currently 11.000 „stratocachers“ registered for this  game.
More info (only in Czech): www.stratocaching.com
·         Balloon Hwoyee: 3000g filled with helium
·         Total weight of payload: 3000g
·         Chute: Sperachute 72“
·         Estimated Ascent/ descent: 5-6 m/s up, 4 m/s down
·         Dropion: 1800g, made of styrodur, design inspired by nature (the name originally come from „drop- onion“)
·         Stratocache: 93 g, 40cm long, falls down rotating as a maple pod (2,5 m/s), with a GPS tracker Meitrack MT90 (replaced battery pack – Energizer Lithium)
·         Radioseed: 2 of the 12 „maple seeds“ bear a different tracking technology: RTTY+CW tracker
·         Electronic systems: APRS tracker, RTTY+CW tracker, Arduino computer, pyrotechnic system for releasing Stratocaches and balloon cutoff, IP video stream module (IP camera Axis M2014, PoE injector router Microtic), video recording module (GoPro Hero 3)
·         Altitude: the launch of Stratocaches and the balloon trajectory will be limited by a flight plan programmed in Arduino computer based on the wheather conditions (maximal altitude 30.000). The aim is to end the flight within the borders of the Czech Republic
Trackers onboard:
Callsign: OK1OMX – UKHAS RTTY 300Bd, 7N2, 450 Hz shift, freq 437.650 MHz, SSB/USB

OK1OMX-11 – APRS, freq 144.8 MHz

Seed1 – UKHAS RTTY 300Bd, 7N2, 450 Hz shift, freq 437.670 MHz, SSB/USB
Seed2 – UKHAS RTTY 300Bd, 7N2, 450 Hz shift, freq 437.690 MHz, SSB/USB
All the trackers are using CW ID with HAM callsign  in between rtty sentences. Seed1 and Seed2 trackers will transmit in CW altitude and locator also.
Žádná věda o.s.
Sdružení pro kouzlo experimentu
Janáčkovo nábřeží 139/57, Praha 5, 150 00, IČO: 22707883.
Mobil: +420 604 166 751


New High Altitude Ballooning group in France: BRAF

Hello all,
I try to form a balloon group in France. His name is as BRAF Balloons Amateur Radio France. Thank you for helping me and please contact me for any information about associations, if you have any. Existing French associations are welcome. The objective of BRAF is to bring ideas to the French plan and ensure links with other similar associations in all countries in the field of amateur balloons in the world. The BRAF is supported by the RAF Association : Radio Amateur France and others as the ANRPFD. The email address is f6agv@free.fr and one of the sites and blogs is http://alerte-radiosondes.blogspot.com/ Thanks for helping. 73 Alan F6AGV for BRAF