Author Archive for Outside Open

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Launch date set!

The HAPPY Capsule is back on track for a flight to near space – the launch has been scheduled for August 13th at 6:30 AM!
Launch site to be finalized – we are deciding between Santa Barbara and Morro Bay and will choose depending on the jet streams and the projected landing location…

Geoff in the news :)

Geoff was recently featured in a news segment on KSDK a St. Louis News channel…

Mission Deflated!

Yesterday Geoff was prevented from getting on the plane to Santa Barbara due to his unfortunate affiliation with a dangerous and shady underground group known as the “Under 14s”.
Geoff was returning on United Airlines which allows travelers under 14 to fly, but the trip to SB was on a different (evil?) airline which refused to let him on the plane! 🙁

But never fear folks, we plan to get this dirigible off the ground and will re-schedule the launch for this summer – we’ll keep you posted!

All is not lost! The extra time will allow us to add some new features to the payload and refine some of our communications systems.

GoPro camera arrived :)

Thanks to sponsorship from Bob Schmitt and Tanya Parker we were able to get a tiny GoPro HD video camera and battery backpack – this will give us HD video for the entire flight and decent!

Thanks y’all!

Balloon in the house!

The Rudys Beat balloon and parachute arrived today!  We now have everything we need for the launch except for the helium 🙂
Here are some photos of the balloon, parachute and first attempts at cutting clean holes in the payload capsule…

HAPPy launch details set!

We will be launching the balloon at 06:30 AM March 26th from Morro Bay, CA and estimate that the capsule will land north of Bakersfield.
Geoff, the kids and I will spend the night in Morro Bay and will drive to Calico immediately following the launch. Please contact me if you are interested in joining us for the launch or recovery.
balloon trajectory forecast

HAPPy test drive

I ran a GPS test today on the way to work!  Now that we have the battery power figured out it is time to start some real world data collection and analysis 🙂

Friday drive - click for larger version...

More power Scotty!

I powered the HAPPy computer for a solid 4.5 hours on the Energizer Lithium AA battery pack today – this is more than enough needed for the flight which should last just over 2.5 hours!

The computer  (an Alix board with USB ports connected to GPS and cell phone)  will SMS GPS co-ordinates to the recovery team as it descends which, along with Apple’s “Find My iPhone” app, will provide redundant methods for finding the capsule when it lands.

Shout out to John Reeve for introducing me to htop, a very cool top replacement.

I’ve got the power!

I successfully powered the in-flight Alix computer today for 35 minutes with a 9V battery.  Tomorrow I’ll build a 6 cell lithium AA battery pack which should give several hours of power – enough to last the entire flight 🙂

Thanks to Jay H. for the battery tips!

Temperature sensor logging in CHDK

If you are interested in using the intervalometer and temperature logging lua script, you can download it from