Feeds

Premature balloon burst thwarts US paper spaceplane attempt

Our Vulture 1 retains Guinness World Record

High performance access to file storage

The University of Southern Indiana has failed to wrest the highest launch of a paper plane crown from our Vulture 1 spaceplane, after suffering premature balloon burst.

The Geronimo aircraft (pictured below) was carried aloft under a mighty meteorological globe from Marion High School in Marion, Illinois, on Saturday morning, en route to a planned drop altitude of 100,000ft (30,480m).

The Geronimo paper plane

However, as the uni's professor Glen Kissel explained: "For some reason, the balloon burst at about 88,000ft (26,820m), far below the expected 110,000ft (33,530m), which is where burst happened on two previous flights with this type of balloon. As a result, the plane was never released, but the stack of pods parachuted down in Indiana as intended."

The team recovered the command tracking pod, camera pod, and the release pod/plane, thanks to a Tiny-Trak TU-401 APRS unit. Here's the flight track (click on the pic for a bigger version).

The track of the Geronimo balloon as seen on aprs.fi

Geronimo itself was packing a Garmin GTU-10 tracker and a Tiny-Trak TU-601 APRS. The latter "initially gave a correct reading prior to launch and then gave anomalous readings throughout the flight", Professor Kissel noted.

That wasn't the only malfunction the plane suffered. Kissel said: "Somewhere before or after burst, we're not sure, the nose cone of the plane fell off (it had been cemented on shortly prior to launch), and our two tracking devices fell out.

"The Garmin GTU-10 landed unscathed, gave off its signals at low altitude as intended, and was picked up north of Carmi, Illinois shortly after the other pods had been recovered in Indiana."

Splendidly, the cantankerous TU-601 was also recovered, having belatedly decided to play ball. Kissel told us: "Surprisingly, it suddenly began giving valid lat/long and altitude at 2:20 am earlier today, Sunday. It was located just east of Carmi, Illinois, and was recovered this Sunday morning."

Well, it sounds like the the Geronimo team had an entertaining weekend. Our commiserations on not topping Vulture 1's 89,591ft (27,310m), and we look forward to future assaults on our Guinness World Record. ®


Paper Aircraft Released Into Space

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Fancy joining Reg hack on quid-a-day challenge?
Recruiting now for charity starvation diet
Red-faced LOHAN team 'fesses up in blown SPEARS fuse fiasco
Standing in the corner, big pointy 'D' hats
KILLER SPONGES menacing California coastline
Surfers are safe, crustaceans less so
Opportunity selfie: Martian winds have given the spunky ol' rover a spring cleaning
Power levels up 70 per cent as the rover keeps on truckin'
Discovery time for 200m WONDER MATERIALS shaved from 4 MILLENNIA... to 4 years
Alloy, Alloy: Boffins in speed-classification breakthrough
Elon Musk's LEAKY THRUSTER gas stalls Space Station supply run
Helium seeps from Falcon 9 first stage, delays new legs for NASA robonaut
Top Secret US payload launched into space successfully
Clandestine NRO spacecraft sets off on its unknown mission
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.