Dan saw the package under parachute again this year but literally seconds before it disappeared into the trees. The mobile tracking unit was causing problems and we were only getting one point every four or five minutes, which kept us close enough so that we didn't lose it, but well below our (always) ultimate goal of 100% tracking (raw tracking here). Cause of the poor tracking is still under investigation. With an almost 20 minute lag between the last two tracks of the mission, it was a lot of luck and a little bit of logic and deduction that allowed us to see the package under parachute. One other thing that helped is that it followed the projected track from the previous evening's wind reports almost exactly. I would be comfortable in stating that the actual landing site was within 100 feet of the projected landing site.
Recovery was very "interesting" this year. The package ended up approximately 40 feet high in an oak tree. The surrounding brush was too thick to effectively throw a weighted line to try to snag the package. Eventually, Larry called a friend who owned a climbing tree stand. The stand was taken up an adjacent pine tree, and they tried to snag the package with a fishing rod and treble hook. They were able to hook the package but the parachute lines were tangled around a small knot on the tree limb. After another hour or so of unsuccessful tugging and pulling, they came back out of the woods and borrowed Shiela's pistol. Larry's friend went back up with the tree stand and was able to shoot enough of the knot on the tree limb so that the line became untangled and fell to the ground. (Whew!) The package container was a little worse for the wear, but no bullet holes and it will be able to fly again next year.
We continue to struggle with using the Raspberry Pi for controlling the mission. An initialization error in the main program resulted in us getting a total of 3 photos, all while on the ground before launch. We also did not collect any data from the onboard GPS. The problems were quickly identified after the mission and fixes will be put in place for the next mission
We rolled out a new tracking page on the Barntek web site for the 2015 mission. During previous missions, only one or two people actually had the downloaded tracking data and pretty much led the chase. Everyone else ended up "chasing the chasers" rather than chasing the balloon. The new tracking page allowed everyone to see the position of the ballon in real time from a computer or smart phone. Users of the tracking page weren't able to see the final positions since we were using the base station at the launch site to update the web site and tracking stopped once the package dropped below line of sight. We are working on a way to relay last positions to the base station from the mobile tracking unit.
|ENDV06 - Mission Statistics
|Launch Date: 13 June 2015
|Launch Time: 1320 UTC (0920 EDT)
|Launch Site: 30 50 11.04N 083 55 16.32W
|Landing Time: 1520 UTC (1120 EDT)
|Landing Site: 30 51 54.60N 084 21 19.20
|Mission Time: 120 minutes
|Distance Launch to Landing (Straight Line): 25.75 miles
|Max Reported Altitude: 98,000 ft
|Additional Info: Tracking from the chase vehicle was relatively poor, Base station tracking from the launch site was better but due the distance and package's proximity to the horizon, base station could not get tracking on the last 35,000 feet of the descent.