Sunday, 23 October 2011

APEX ALPHA flies into Poland

This is my blog of my experience and photographs having had the privilege, once again, to join the APEX HAB team and CUSF for a HAB launch from the Churchill College site, Cambridge. The team had travelled up overnight. I arrived mid morning.

The flight of "APEX ALPHA" in all its amazing details will become available from the website of the APEX team at Sutton Grammar. Here I just give a few details. The prediction that the balloon would land in the North Sea proved to be very wrong. The last recorded position (unless someone knows otherwise) received from the balloon was:

Time: 2011-10-22 23:41:10
Position: 52.054183,19.82842
Altitude: 36304 m Rate: 0.0 m/s
Max. Altitude: 36645 m
Temperature: -52.31C
Battery (V): 3.4
External Temperature (C): -57.69
Receivers: OZ1SKY

It did not beat the height record, but may have broken other records. Much to everyone's amazement, it traveled from Cambridge, over the North Sea, into Holland, then Germany and then Poland! Despite an internal temperature of -52C, the batteries were still working (reasonably) well. Despite the efforts of radio enthusiasts all over Europe, the team lost contact with the balloon as it headed East across Poland. The team were unable to hail radio tracking help in Poland or Russia.

Below is one of the last screen shots from the tracking systems and an image from the Twitter stream during the final hours of the flight.  It is possible, but unlikely, that the payload will be recovered on the ground.

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