HomeMade High Altitude Balloons... Jan 21, 2006 4:52:17 GMT -6
Post by Chicago Astronomer Joe on Jan 21, 2006 4:52:17 GMT -6
Satellites on a Budget - High Altitude Balloons
(Thu, 19 Jan 2006) Paul Verhage has some pictures that you'd swear were taken from space. And they were. Amateur Radio High Altitude Ballooning allows individuals to launch functioning satellites to "near space" at a fraction of the cost of traditional rocket launch vehicles. Paul's balloons have been as high as 35 km, and the photographs he's taken are out of this world.
Full Story -
Balloon photograph taken from 25km. Image credit: Paul Verhage. Click to enlarge.
Paul Verhage has some pictures that you'd swear were taken from space. And they were. But Verhage is not an astronaut, nor does he work for NASA or any company that has satellites orbiting Earth. He is a teacher in the Boise, Idaho school district. His hobby, however, is out of this world.
Verhage is one of about 200 people across the United States who launch and recover what have been called a "poor man's satellite." Amateur Radio High Altitude Ballooning (ARHAB) allows individuals to launch functioning satellites to "near space," at a fraction of the cost of traditional rocket launch vehicles.
Verhage says that the total cost for building, launching and recovering these Near Spacecraft is less than $1,000. "Our launch vehicles and fuel are latex weather balloons and helium," he said.
Plus, once an individual or small group begins designing a Near Spacecraft, it could be ready for launch within six to twelve months.Near space lies begins between 60,000 and 75,000 feet (~ 18 to 23 km) and continues to 62.5 miles (100km), where space begins.
A Near Spacecraft lifts off. Image credit: Paul Verhage.
"At these altitudes, air pressure is only 1% of that at ground level, and air temperatures are approximately -60 degrees F," he said. "These conditions are closer to the surface of Mars than to the surface of Earth."
Verhage is writing an e-book that details how to build, launch and recover a Near Spacecraft, and the first 8 chapters are available free, online. The e-book will have 15 chapters when finished, totaling about 800 pages in length. Parallax, the company that manufactures a microcontroller is sponsoring the e-book's publication.
The full intriguing story can be found here with high altitude pics: www.universetoday.com/am/publish/satellites_budget.html?1912006
This is right up your alley!