Volume 2, Issue 4 --- November, 1992

This is the electronic version of the Stratosphere Newsletter. Occasionally final editing is done to the actual layout of the newsletter and spelling checks, and other corrections may not make it into this edition. The content is complete (except for graphics).


President's Corner

By the time you read this, our flight from Longmont will be history. My observations six days prior to the flight is that it should be one of our most successful. A renewed emphasis was placed on reliability for this project. A redundant beacon is being used to increase the probability that at least one will land upright, and intact, allowing for a rapid recovery. By doing this however, we have grown in weight and if we continue with two beacons, I hope we can drastically reduce the individual beacon weights.

We also conducted our most rigorous test program for this flight. The payload team threw everything they could at the Shuttle to gain confidence that it will survive the flight. The Shuttle continued to perform well during and after five continuous hours at less than -40 degrees F. On a new set of flight batteries, the Shuttle continued to operate for over 12 hours and this was with the TV transmitter on for 11 hours. This indicates that at normal operation, the shuttle should operate for at least 24 hours. Se a more detailed description of the test chamber elsewhere in this issue.

At the October meeting, I was glad that the membership agreed to pursue this project and have the Longmont Amateur Radio Club join with us in this project. I was however, disappointed in the support for another flight this year from the Pueblo area. I realize that Pueblo is a long way from Denver and the project would be quite a sacrifice for the fox hunters, but this opportunity to work with the University of Southern Colorado would be invaluable in establishing our group as a true scientific and educational organization. To maintain the contact with USC, Tom Isenberg and I are still planning a trip to explain to the faculty and students what EOSS is and how balloon projects cam be an educational tool. Whether we pursue future projects with USC will be up to you, the membership. I believe this is an important opportunity for us.

It is not too early for us to start thinking about elections for next year. After two years in this position, I think it is time for someone else to man the helm. This is not MY organization, it is OURs. I see the same subgroups doing 99 percent of the work, it's time to spread the load. How about you? Are you doing your part?

Enough for now, see you at the November meeting.

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EOSS to Host Balloon Symposium

A few times over the last two years, I have mentioned a vision of mine that EOSS would host a National Balloon Symposium. We would meet for a full day or even two days and share information with other balloon organizations across the country. Recently, at the Education Committee meeting, the value of such an event became even more apparent.

Just as important as other balloon organizations, we need to disseminate information between ourselves (EOSS). I mean practical stuff like: how does the Shuttle work? What are the FAA regulations? How do you tie the neck of the balloon? How do you use the beacons to track the balloon? Reliability enhancements, test programs, thermal considerations. I could go on and on. There is a lot of information in the heads of a relatively few people in our group. How about a good training session for all of us? How about training a sister group in southern Colorado?

The Educational Community could benefit from such a symposium as well. How do we effectively involve students? what is the standard Shuttle Experiment Interface so student groups can design and build compatible experiments? At the Education Committee meeting, several instructors pleaded for such an interchange. They also said they would like to participate, teaching us about how to meet our goals in education.

I am convinced that at least a half dozen (or more) representatives from other balloon organizations would participate. There would be a mutual sharing of experiences and ideas and techniques. We could have speakers from both amateur radio balloon groups as well as University balloon groups.

What I have in mind is patterned after the annual AMSAT Symposium and other groups:


  • 7 pm to 10 pm, Registration, informal social for out of town visitors. Show and tell.
  • 7 am - Registration opens
  • 8 am - Welcome and Introductions
  • 8:15 to noon - Speakers 1 through 4 on various general balloon topics.
  • 12 pm to 1 pm - Informal Lunch on site.
  • 1 pm to 5 pm - Speakers 5 though 8 or this could be a dual track period with:
    • Education Session
    • Practical Design
  • 5 pm to 6:30 pm - Video Tape and flight data presentations
  • 6:30 to 8 pm Dinner (semi-formal?), either catered or at a restaurant.
  • 9 am to 12 noon - Additional sessions or even a balloon launch with emphasis on:
    • practical handling
    • launch techniques
    • knots
    • tracking and recovery
  • Noon - Adjourn

What do you think? Let's talk about it and form a committee to make this happen, OK?

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EOSS Happenings

The timing of this issue is such that several events are going on between the editorial deadline and the actual publication and distribution of "Stratosphere". This makes it difficult to say how everything went but here are a few comments on them anyway.

  • 10/31/92 - EOSS-9 Longmont Project, 9 am launch from Long's Peak Middle School. Probably a complete success!
  • 10/31/92 - Amateur Radio Display at Colorado Springs East Library. Malcom Benton, KE9S, is leading this up with the help of Don Fraser, WA9WWS, and his son Danny. Others are helping too and quite an EOSS display is planned, including live video and packet from EOSS-9. Thanks everyone who helped.
  • 11/5/92 - EOSS Presentation at University of Southern Colorado. Tom Isenberg, N0KSR, is the lead.
  • 12/7/92 - Utah State University Balloon Flight from Reno, Nevada. EOSS to command payload separation and recover payload. GPS receiver on board should help tracking effort. Jack Crabtree, AA0P, and Greg Burnett, K0ELM, are heading this one up.
  • 11/10/92 - Science Education Expo, sponsored by Greeley Tribune, Greeley, Colorado. EOSS Exhibit headed up by Marty Griffin, WA0GEH. We still need some help here so let Marty know you can help!
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The State Fair Launch

The State Fair Launch was a series of ups and downs. Some interesting things happened with the payload but overall I thought that the launch was successful. We did some new things that we hadn't tried before and they worked. Our EOSS Exhibition booth also went well thanks to the coordination of our group's president, Jack Crabtree.

Several strange things happened to the spacecraft payload.

When we switched the power from ground power to spacecraft power we began to not receive packet. Unfortunately we launched the balloon quickly to conserve power and didn't recognize the problem until after the balloon was launched. As a result we didn't receive any packet data during the launch.

We also weren't able to control the vane's movement the camera's movement or the release mechanism. These problems were such that we were unable to carry out the stabilization experiment. They also didn't allow us to separate the payload from the balloon and when the balloon popped it got tangled in the parachute.

I haven't seen the payload yet but I can imagine what must have happened to it when it fell twenty miles with little or no parachute.

Many good things also happened with the balloon launch. Although we were unable to move the camera, we received some of the best ATV that we've ever had. It was quite spectacular.

During this launch we also were involved with the sixty foot dish on North Table Mountain. The Deep Space Exploration Society monitored our ATV transmissions the way up to 100,000 feet from Boulder.

This launch was quite special because of the amount of student involvement we had. The IAAS coordinated this involvement which had students be mentored by EOSS members. This worked very well and we think that it should be encouraged in the future. Jerry Sweet from CSU invited us to do this project and was so impressed that he now wants us to involve his students.

Our top notch foxhunters once again found the payload. They reported that it was found very near a river and that we were quite lucky that it didn't land in the water. This launch wouldn't have worked without the participation of many EOSS members. Thanks go to everyone who helped with the project.

I think that it was a very productive launch because we learned a lot and have a lot of new questions to answer. Jim Libhart, Jack Crabtree and Tim Kelliher did a great job working with the payload. Jean Kaluk and 9 Garralda (yes 9 is her real name) worked very hard on public relations and amazed me with their organization and perseverance. Tom Isenberg was a wonderful cheerleader and motivator for the students. Mike Ditto wowed us all with a superb video about EOSS to be used at the EOSS booth. And last but certainly not least thanks go to Marty Tressell for helping with just about everything.

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EOSS to Assist with Balloon Flight from Nevada

Edge of Space Sciences (EOSS) will assist in the tracking, command and recovery of a scientific balloon payload from Nevada. The launch of this balloon mission is scheduled for 1500 MST on Friday, November 13,1992. The launch point is near Reno, Nevada at the University of Nevada. While launched from Nevada, the flight is being conducted by the Utah State University.

They payload will consist of a five channel ozone spectrometer and radiometer built to measure and characterize the ozone content of the upper atmosphere. Total payload package weight will be approximately 50 pounds.

The balloon will be a Winzen Research "super pressure" balloon designed to float at a stable altitude for long periods of time. this balloon will have a column of 250,000 cubic feet and at the planned altitude of 110,000 feet, will have a diameter of 96 feet.

In addition to the primary payload equipment, the package will have a 15 watt Amateur Television (ATV) transmitter that will downlink live video from a black and white TV camera. A VHF transmitter will downlink telemetry via amateur packet radio that will include position reports developed from a Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) receiver on board the payload package. In addition, two VHF transmitter beacons will also be included to assist in tracking and recovery of the payload.

Radio Frequency Data:

  • Telemetry Downlink - 144.290 MHz
  • Balloon Beacon - 144.280 MHz
  • Payload Beacon - 144.300 MHz
  • ATV Downlink 434.250 MHz

Editor's Note: A listing of the Telemetry Packet Format was included at this point in the original article. I've omitted it here as it is very tough to hand type it in (a process I have to use to get all the older editions of the "Stratosphere" into the EOSS home pages).

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A Minute with the Secretary

There have been three general meetings since the last newsletter. Obviously not all 100+ members can be expected to attend every meeting. This column of the newsletter is intended to provide a brief synopsis of the general meetings for those who were unable to attend a particular meeting.


  • Treasurer's Report $950 banked, 105 paid members.
  • Discussed
    • Preparations for the State Fair Launch
    • Tax exempt number came in
  • Treasurer's Report $1069.93 banked
  • Motions:
    • Give 1 year free membership to any pilot who donates time and plane to recovery operations. PASSED
  • Discussed:
    • State Fair in review
    • BARCFest
    • Colorado Springs Presentation
  • Mike Manes was appointed new Tech Committee chair after the resignation of Dave Clingerman.
  • Treasurer's Report $891.62 banked
  • Motions:
    • To launch a balloon in conjunction with LARC (Longmont Amateur Radio Club). PASSED
    • To Launch in conjunction with USC this year. FAILED
    • To hold an antenna contest as an tweener (between flight project). PASSED
  • Discussed:
    • Board challenges for two more flights this year.
    • Not to go to the RMRL (Rocky Mountain Radio League) HamFest
    • Putting together a packet for schools to follow if they are interested in participating in a launch.

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By now I am sure everyone is glad that elections are over. No more obnoxious, slanderous commercials, no more media hype. Well, that is almost true. There is still one more important vote to cast. That's right, it's time to elect new EOSS officers. This next year promises to be an exciting year. Universities, high schools and even junior high schools are looking to EOSS to help them to the edge of space. You must decide who is capable of leading this group in this task. There will be some changes in office this year as Jack wishes to step down, and I as Secretary, will not be seeking reelection (I am graduating, getting married and moving out of state in May/July, a new editor for the newsletter will also have to be found after May's issue). As for Marty and Merle, they haven't said as of yet. There are many good men and women in this club more than capable of running it. Let's get some nominations and a good turn out at the January elections.

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Editor's Notes

Apologies to Mike Manes and Paul Ternlund, who both submitted articles but through computer (or maybe inept operator) error, were not able to be published this quarter. I will get them in next time. Also a roster was not sent this time but can be acquired through Merle or Jack.

Thanks to all the contributors. Special Thanks goes to Jack who has successfully lead us through another year. Extra Special Thanks goes to Dina, my fiance, for putting up with me during publishing time.

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