The Gemini Option

A place to look and discuss payloads. Everything from the containment to contents.
MattBassett
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The Gemini Option

Postby MattBassett » Fri Apr 15, 2016 2:14 am

Hey folks,

Most of my launches have been carefully planned and calculated around landing sites; making sure that the payload didn't end up on an Army base, on the front lawn of the White House, or 30 miles off into the North Atlantic. This has generally been successful, although on at least one occasion, we dropped a lunchbox from about 101,000ft into the Chesapeake Bay. (Still got most of the video!)

But now we have a friend with a 65ft fishing boat, a solid GPS/satphone system, and a willingness to let us explore. So our plan is to launch from about 15-20mi inland, let the balloon head out to see, and then use a SPOT tracker and the boat to track it down. We call it the Gemini Option; plan to dump the spacecraft in the ocean, track its descent, and then scoop it up at sea.

Obviously, it's gotta float; I've attached a picture of the frame we're creating to support most of the camera weight. It's plywood, surrounded by cut-up pool noodles, which are connected by internal fishing line and paracord. (So if the plywood snaps, they all mostly stay together.) Right in the middle is a sea dye marker, which should help make the landing site more visible in the open ocean.

Not pictured will be the center lunchbox, containing tracking gear and more flotation equipment. We're planning to film down (to watch the ocean rise up), up (to watch the whole rig and the balloon expand) and out (to film the Earth.)

Any thoughts? Suggestions? Ideas on how we can make this whole thing better?
-Matt
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KI9L
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Re: The Gemini Option

Postby KI9L » Sat Apr 16, 2016 3:59 pm

That looks cool!
That is a shame that you have large bodies of water to contend with. We are lucky enough to have miles of desert to recover our payloads in.
how are you planning on deploying the dye?
Trackuino APRS tracker for the Arduino/Atmega328p
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Trackuino WEB HAB MKI - 85, 816ft - 68,593ft

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MattBassett
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Re: The Gemini Option

Postby MattBassett » Sat Apr 16, 2016 8:58 pm

Our plan is to use the paracord to secure the dye marker pack to the main lunchbox, and dangle the dye marker 10-15ft below the main assembly. That way it'll hit the water first, and more importantly, we can open the dye marker up from the top. That way it won't sprinkle dye powder out during the ascent and descent, but it'll still be open and able to drift out of the pack when it hits the ocean.
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