Tethered Launch Rig Complete – Now, We Wait.

We’re just a hair away from completing our main goal for this semester: Launching tethered balloons for the projects flying on the high altitude balloon. We’ve managed to gather everything needed for this objective, and are now awaiting on mother nature to let us fly.

We’ve acquired the helium tanks, the balloon, the lines for the tether and cutdown, and we’ve built our very own cutdown device. We’ve even compacted everything onto one launch rig (pictured). On our launch rig, you’ll see a small spool of fishing line, and a large spool of red line. For our launches, the red line will be tied off to the balloon to keep it from going anywhere, and the fishing line will run through our cutdown device and tied back to the rig so it can be cut when we wish to drop the payload. Everything seems to be in place for our launch.

Unfortunately, mother nature has graced us with the lovely winter gift of snow – and a lot of it. Currently, the field at CTU is covered in a lot of snow, which is kind of a hassle to trek through as it is not a small amount. Even though it is entirely possible for us to launch in this weather, we’ve decided to wait until most of the snow is gone to do our tests. Fortunately, both Project TRAPSat and Project HERMES are ready to launch on the tethered flights to do further testing.

Our first tethered launch will likely be mid to late March, once the snow is mostly gone. We’ll post another update when launch time comes and hopefully a video as well!


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