High Altitude Ballooning

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This page was created 11/7/2012 by Kyle to help pull resources together for Hive76 to launch a High Altitude Balloon (HAB).


  • Achieve an altitude of 20 miles ( 115,000 feet )
  • Bring back some beautiful photos from altitude
  • Return safely to the earth, preferably in a designated area
  • Maintain a location and altitude during the duration of the flight

Design Considerations

  • Payload
    • Can have up to 3 payload on one balloon, each up to 6 lbs, but not exceeding 12lbs total.
  • Controller
    • Needs to run for 3-6 hours on battery, minimum
    • Has to interface with GPS, sensors, Cameras, Radio, etc
    • Arduino vs RaspberryPi?
  • GPS
    • frequently fail above 60,000 feet - Some recommend a second GPS with known high-altitude capability
  • Telemetry - TX or RX/TX on the craft itself?
    • If TX only, we can report some data, and GPS positions
      • APRS - Kyle] Has a TX TNC and 2 2m handheld radios we can use
    • If RX/TX maybe use a mobile cell phone connection?
  • Cameras
    • Low-quality Webcams for multiple views?
    • Higher-quality Camera with CHDK [1]
  • Parachute
  • Container
  • Heat-containing container to guard against colds of altitude
  • Balloon
    • Bigger can lift more weight, achieve higher altitude, but is more expensive and requires more gas to fill.
    • Amazon 30ft balloon: [2]


Part 101 of the FAA Regulations covers balloons, kites and rockets. The first section of Part 101 spells out exactly which kinds of devices the rest of Part 101 applies to. Regarding "unmanned free balloons," Part 101 applies if the balloon:

  1. Carries a payload package that weighs more than four pounds and has a weight/size ratio of more than three ounces per square inch on any surface of the package, determined by dividing the total weight in ounces of the payload package by the area in square inches of its smallest surface;
  2. Carries a payload package that weighs more than six pounds;
  3. Carries a payload, of two or more packages, that weighs more than 12 pounds; or
  4. Uses a rope or other device for suspension of the payload that requires an impact force of more than 50 pounds to separate the suspended payload from the balloon.


http://www.chem.hawaii.edu/uham/part101.html http://hackerspacesinspace.com/