Stratocaching was one of the first efforts to bring the hobby of HAB into the mainstream. The second has been the Global Space Balloon challenge sponsored by Google. This year the two combined when the Stratocache Superseed made an appearance during the GSBC.
Ivan at Stratocache picks up the story of it’s flight in the GSBC.
” We were trying to develop the Stratoaching idea after two big events in 2013 and 2014 (see http://stratocaching.idnes.cz/english1). We were hosted by the official meteorological ballon of the Czech Hydrometeorological Institute and focused on our innovated Stratocache “Superseed” design – flying module inspired by natural maple seed. In the Global Space balloon Challenge we flew a payload with this single large seed, dropped it, and recorded the footage of it flying.
The videos and photos are quite hypnotic – on the way up the GoPro camera captured vertical scenes, after automatic release (60 mins of flight, altitude 18.100) the seed starts to rotate…https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sHJgaAC5Uhs
We still need to develop the automatic launch mechanism as the electronic timer is not ideal. We think it is best if the component is mechanical and allows to launch the seed exactly at the time of balloon burst to get the maximal altitude.
After finishing this component (already in progress), we plan to study the interesting behavior of the seed in higher altitudes. Our main aim is to start a cooperation with a scientific institution.
In the Global Space Balloon Challenge we used the GSM tracker to make it more consumer-friendly and ready for potential future commercial package (no radioamateurs needed). The tracker works precisely now, it was exactly on the position it reported (+-2metres). The disadvantage is that we could not track the whole flight after releasing from the probe balloon.
As for the next big Stratocaching events – we have a new opportunity in Slovakia now (realisation partners and permissions secured), if this works well, we will work with the last years model of dropion gondola +GSM tracker seeds + live stream.”