Launch date relaxed, Tracking system tests coming online!

SB-1 will not be launching this weekend.  It turns out that our most significant competition, Cornell University’s tight-lipped Project Blue Horizon, may not try to cross the Atlantic until sometime in April, removing pressure to beat them to Europe this weekend.  Also, the Jet Stream wasn’t that great for this Sunday, and the on-the-ground weather was even worse for launching a balloon.

SpeedBall-1 could have flown just fine this weekend, however, there’s significant parts of the telemetry pipeline, a long convoluted series of data transfers, that haven’t been tested very much.  This will give us some much needed time to make sure that a silly mistake doesn’t doom our precious robot pilot to a watery grave.

This weekend we’ll be running a GPS simulator built by one of our members, Gary Flispart, that replays the Spirit of Knoxville IV flight from March 2008, the current distance record holding flight.  (with slight deviations from the original track for testing purposes)   You’re welcome to watch along if you like, at http://track.whitestarballoon.org .   We can’t guarantee a time or quality of the entertainment, and it may stop working any time, or restart, as we tinker with it.

SpeedBall-1 is scheduled to be released from testing after Wednesday next week.  After that date, we will fly at the earliest possible less-than-36 hour crossing forecast!

SpeedBall-2 is already under construction!

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