Launches‎ > ‎2011-2012‎ > ‎October 2011‎ > ‎

Oct2011_Executive

The team leads arrived at the Ham Shack at 3:30AM. The class showed up at 3:45AM. We departed the Ham Shack at 4:30, and arrived at Benge at 6:00AM. We investigated the landing strip, located to the northeast of the school, to see if that would be a good place to launch from. It was decided that the stirp would be too hard to get to. It was later discovered that there is a road that leads directly to the strip.The team began to set up all of the equipment. The launch time was delayed. Dave the Pilot had to scrape ice off of his plane, so he was late arriving at the launch site. When he did, we were able to power on our equipment, and fill the balloon. We placed a radio set up as a repeater station in the plane. One of the microtracks did not work when it was powered on. Kevin decided to take the spare microtrack from the Vast capsule, and place it in Snowflake. W7UQ-5 was Snowflake's callsign, and W7UQ-7 was the Vast capsule. We launched the payload at 8:02AM. The Vast recovery team headed for Colfax, WA immediately after launch. The Snowflake recovery team stayed at the launch time for 10 minutes before departing. The payload took a much further south direction than what was anticipated. The Vast recovery team adjusted accordingly. Snowflake cut away at 8:42, 40 minutes after flight. The altitude at cutdown was 44,000 feet. Snowflake's parafoil appeared to inflate properly. However, it appears that a string for one of the toggle lines was tangled on the GPS receiver cable. This caused Snowflake to "helicopter", where the Snowflake package and the parafoil fell at equal speeds, and spun around rapidly. This caused Snowflake to fall at a fast rate. It was not able to steer in any direction. About 5 minutes before touchdown, Snowflake was able to right itself, and decend at a normal rate until touchdown. The recovery team was able to recover the payload. The Vast capsule continued on its southeast trajectory. It crossed the Snake river before touching down. The recovery team had to cross the Lower Granite Dam to retreive the payload.

During the flight, packets were received from the Snowflake capsule consistently. Snowflake's transmissions cut out for a small portion of ascent, and the majority of decent, until the payload was able to right itself. The repeater station on the plane was of enormous help, receiving practically all transmissions and repeating them back down to the chase vehicles.

Timeline

  • Leadership Met at Ham Shack: 3:30AM
  • Class Met at Ham Shack: 3:45AM
  • Left Ham Shack: 4:30AM
  • Arrived at Launch Site: 6:00AM
  • Capsule Constructed: 7:30AM - Plane delayed this
  • Begin to Fill Balloon: 7:20AM
  • Launch: 8:02AM
  • Iridium System Powered On: 8:02AM
  • Departed from Launch Site: 
  • Vast Chase - Immediately
  • Snowflake - Waited for 15 minutes
  • Snowflake Cut Away: 8:42AM
  • Burst: 9:19AM
  • Touchdown: 10:01AM
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