It has been a long, hot day at the Fort Laramie Bed and Breakfast, where we have been testing and making final pre-launch decisions.
Yesterday we drove seven hours from Jackson to Fort Laramie, with a stop in Casper to say hi to our friend from Blue Origin, Heather Nelson. When we got to Fort Laramie, we met up with the BBC film crew and headed to the makeshift campground next to the B&B.
This morning we had a very interesting conversation with Jen Fowler, Assistant Director, Montana Space Grant, and also our Launch Director. Instead of an Iridium satellite tracker, we will be using a second SPOT tracker as a redundant tracking system. Ms. Fowler also talked to us about lift calculations, the NASA microbe experiment, and the data from our previous launches. We also talked to Dr. June Wang, an atmospheric scientist from SUNY, who talked to us about the science behind the data we came up with, calibrating our instruments, and waves in the stratosphere.
We also got to watch one of the teams launch a radiosonde, which was really cool because we got to see how their teams did it, how they filled their balloon, how they released their payload, and how they received data. It looks like it was helpful to have a lot of hands helping! We learned so much.
We spent a lot of time testing our flight computer, APRS tracker, SPOT Trace tracker, and GoPros. Ms. Fowler helped us with our APRS by lending us a portable ham radio, which is really interesting to use because we’ve never used one before. We had a problem with Internet access, so the radio was really helpful.
But the biggest problem we found was that one of the wires connected to the solar panel came out of the port, causing the flight computer to not work. We’re lucky we tested today and not tomorrow!
Tomorrow we’re going to launch and we’re super excited! All of our hard work on this project is finally going to come together in a spectacular launch. We hope…. We’re really grateful for the opportunity to learn from and launch with some amazing scientists, balloonists, and engineers from all over the country on this Eclipse Ballooning Project. We wish you all clear skies!