It certainly has been a hectic few days – from the moment, Wednesday afternoon, I obtained permission for the weekend it’s been non stop! I am delighted though that HABE2 was a great success! I will try and write a full rundown of the flight in the next few days, but for now I’ll just give a few quick facts about the launch.

After waking up Saturday morning, I checked the prediction and nothing had really changed, so I gave the launch the go-ahead. The extremely cold conditions slowed down the launch setup due to very cold, numb fingers! In fact, for the last 10mins of setup/launch it started snowing. Despite the slower than usual setup everything was going fine until it came to the last part – the filling of the balloon. We had a faulty adapter! No helium whatsoever was flowing out! This was devastating – with the payload all ready to fly and transmitting it’s location perfectly it was looking like the launch would have to be called off. A quick chat to the other guys on the IRC channel, my fellow HABer/ist (not sure the correct phrasing!) in Worcester, Will Duckworth, came to my rescue after he drove his helium adapter to the launch site! A big big thanks to Will who saved the day! His HAB project is here.

So finally, about 1hr later than planned HABE2 took to the skies! The flight lasted about 2.5hrs and was recovered from a horse field near High Wycombe. At this point I’d like to mention how accurate the predictor is – yet again pinpointing the flight path to within a few km – incredible. The highest reported GPS position was 29, 958m (just 42m shy of the big 30!) – but, if the refresh rate of the GPS and the length of the cord connecting the payload to the chute and onto the balloon is considered I may well have just hit the 30km mark. However – this launch was never intended to go as high as my previous one; I needed a quick ascent and descent (which meant compromising on altitude) due to the predictions.

The camera worked perfectly resulting in some fantastic photos and a couple of short videos! The best can be seen here in my flickr set. See if you can spot the moon and aircraft vapour trails! I’m very pleased with how these turned out.

All the other main components worked great, the SD “black box” style logger has resulted in a significant amount of data being logged – I am now trawling through it all and I hope to have some nice graphics soon(ish). One interesting fact so far – the coldest temperature recorded during the flight was -63.1C!! That makes our -5C temp look strangely warm!

Keep tuned as in the next few days/weeks I’ll be providing a full analysis of the launch and hopefully producing some nice graphics.

For now – I’m very pleased with how it all went considering what could’ve gone wrong. If you have any questions please do drop me a comment below or email me or pop on the IRC #highaltitude