Fall 2002 Black Rock Flights

Images can be clicked on to see a larger image.

A View From Above

Away 17 and 18 were originally planned for flying out of Ft. Stockton on the same mission as the ML launch and Away 19. However, the winds were higher than desired at the time, so we flew Away 17 and 18 out of Black Rock, NV. Away 17 carried 119 PongSats and the video from the on-board camera was the best we've ever recorded. On several occasions on the video, the planet Venus can be seen against the blackness of space.

As a part of advancing our programs, we are designing and building our own balloons. The balloon for Away 18 was a medium altitude version and flew to 41,000 feet on this mission.

          
Away 20

Away 20 was the next JPA-constructed balloon. 80 feet long and 15 feet in diameter, the package it would carry included a balloon separation system, a GPS tracking system, and a new lighter-weight mini-beacon.

    
Away 20 Lifting

It was a cold desert morning on Dec. 8, but that doesn't slow down this team. Here the group patiently fills the balloon until enough lift is obtained.

    
It's Going!

Away 20 begins its ascent. It would end up climbing to 91,000 feet and landing about 60 miles away.

    
Away 21 is Next

Shortly after Away 20 is gone, Away 21 is readied for its mission. This one had everything on it equipment-wise, including lighter electronics and a new balloon release mechanism.

    
More PongSats

Away 21 also carried over 300 PongSats onboard.

    
Getting Ready

The balloon is filled and preparations are made for liftoff. The crew steadies it before letting go, and then releases it.

    
PongSats Away!

Storm fronts are slowly moving towards Black Rock but the ground winds are fairly calm. The winds are a little faster at higher altitude as the package shoots up. The vehicle climbed to 94,100 feet before landing about 63 miles down range.

    

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This page edited December 14, 2002
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