In Flight Prediction Capabilities

Below is a screenshot that includes the actual track of EOSS-46 (W0WYX - Black Line) along with the pre-launch prediction (N0KKZ-3 - Red Line). This pre-launch capability will not change. Predictions are based on whatever data is available from the NWS's morning RAOB flight.

But, suppose you could capture information about the winds the balloon actually encountered during the ascent phase of the flight and use that data to predict a new touchdown point? The result, a much better prediction. 

What you see below is just that. The black line is the actual track of the balloon. However this time, the red line is a prediction that was generated with Balloon Track using the winds encountered during ascent. As you can see the match is MUCH more accurate. In fact, if we had flown a payload with a more standardized descent profile, it would be amazingly accurate. Unfortunately, EOSS-46 was using a rather sophisticated descent retardation system that made it quite difficult for Balloon Track to give really accurate results.

I have added a routine to the program that will import data, received by any Balloon Track's Packet Terminal Screen or any other packet radio program that captures plain text log files. That data must be in either the designated format for an APRS string or from any payload that beacons out the GPS NMEA string $GPGGA using the standard packet radio protocol. Balloon Track will then generate a new predicted touchdown point.

See the Import APRS/GPS Data page for details on the Formats supported and how this capability works.

This should be a great backup in the event of payload failures during descent. Of course, everything must be working perfectly during the ascent phase in order to collect the necessary data for the prediction.

It will also be a great aid when the winds have significantly deviated from those observed by the morning NWS RAOB flight.