Feeds

Premature balloon burst thwarts US paper spaceplane attempt

Our Vulture 1 retains Guinness World Record

Remote control for virtualized desktops

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

Intelligent flash storage arrays

More from The Register

next story
Antarctic ice THICKER than first feared – penguin-bot boffins
Robo-sub scans freezing waters, rocks warming models
I'll be back (and forward): Hollywood's time travel tribulations
Quick, call the Time Cops to sort out this paradox!
Your PHONE is slowly KILLING YOU
Doctors find new Digitillnesses - 'text neck' and 'telepressure'
Reuse the Force, Luke: SpaceX's Elon Musk reveals X-WING designs
And a floating carrier for recyclable rockets
Britain's HUMAN DNA-strewing Moon mission rakes in £200k
3 days, and Kickstarter moves lander 37% nearer takeoff
Rosetta science team thinks Philae might come to life in the spring
And disclose the biggest surprise of Comet 67P
Bond villains lament as Wicked Lasers withdraw death ray
Want to arm that shark? Better get in there quick
prev story

Whitepapers

Seattle children’s accelerates Citrix login times by 500% with cross-tier insight
Seattle Children’s is a leading research hospital with a large and growing Citrix XenDesktop deployment. See how they used ExtraHop to accelerate launch times.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
Why CIOs should rethink endpoint data protection in the age of mobility
Assessing trends in data protection, specifically with respect to mobile devices, BYOD, and remote employees.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Website security in corporate America
Find out how you rank among other IT managers testing your website's vulnerabilities.