This semester, we’ve been trying to figure out alternative ways to cutdown the payload on our tethered balloon launches. The pull pin test worked well occasionally, but proved to have quite a few flaws. Many times, the pin got stuck due to friction from the hanger and the rope itself. Other times, there was an issue with the pull pin falling onto the parachute (You can see that in our earlier tests in our first post) causing the parachute not to deploy fully. So, we headed back to the drawing board to come up with an alternative myself and Ben like to call, “The Funbox.”
This box is a pretty simple design that has fishing line running through the box through a series of eyelets, through the parachute loop, then back out the box down to a tie off station next to the line’s spool. The line is kept taught during the balloon’s ascent to its resting altitude so that the parachute is held in place during the ride. If the line is not kept taught, the payload will drop back down, pulling the line with it. Once it is ready to be dropped, someone will cut the line where it is tied off releasing all tension in the line, dropping the payload. This sounds a little complex, but once we do some tests and record the results, it will be much clearer.