Two Views of the Launch

You can really see the size difference in the balloons from launch to peak altitude. They start out ten feet in diameter and end up sixty feet in diameter.

8 Responses to “Two Views of the Launch”

  1. Brad Heisler says:

    I like the lower pic. Did Tandem actually launch with no one holding her?

  2. Anthony Gregory says:

    That is correct

  3. Brad Heisler says:

    That way no one ends up going for a “ride!”

  4. Jack Kidder says:

    Kind of interested in the electronics that it carried and used… did you put a triangulating set of sensors on the baloons to measure diameter and wall thickness at different altitiudes… along with temperature sensors on the skin of the baloons? The data would have been interesting… I think.

    Nice work!!!

  5. Karl Hallowell says:

    Brad, the lift wouldn’t have been enough, unless you’re the size of a small dog. The real problem would have been breaking the vehicle or getting whacked by the vehicle. Nobody near the vehicle means nobody gets hurt or breaks anything.

    Jack, we didn’t have sensors on the balloon. Latex balloons are fairly well understood. They’re also very thin and delicate. Almost anything is considered capable of tearing or puncturing a latex balloon, including tape and clothing! Having said that, occasionally we get new balloon designs (such as the 4000 gram balloons used on Tandem, we were one of the earliest customers). A testing system that can indirectly measure balloon attributes would be pretty useful for early launches of new designs.

  6. Brad Heisler says:

    Thanks for the reply Dr. Karl. I’m glad you could make the mission. Also the “risk manager” in me likes the way JPA thinks. If a gust were to come up, the “ride” might have been horizontal rather than vertical. It’s good to learn about hands off launches with smaller Tandems so that when larger Tandems are launched there will be fewer surprises.

  7. Karl Hallowell says:

    You’re welcome. Brad. We’ll still have to do most of our launches with someone holding the payload, but Tandem’s approach does open up the possibility of safer launches with that configuration.

  8. Erik says:

    Is it an option to stop the vertical movement so the balloons don’t burst?