In late January I stumbled across this link: http://www.balloonchallenge.org/. I knew immediately that I wanted to participate, and I needed to partner with someone. I work with Alan and share some interests with him, so I sent him the website and asked if he was interested in joining forces with me. My email record says it took him 20 minutes to agree.
I proposed a few overarching goals which Alan accepted and extended:
- Keep it simple. I’m hoping this will be a yearly event, and we can get fancier next year.
- Keep the costs down.
- Make it accessible to my 8 year old son.
- A photography component is a must [Note: that was my personal goal. The challenge rules require both photography and GPS tracking].
- Recover the payload, undamaged.
Since then Alan and I have been having a lot of fun reading about balloon launches and planning how we’ll tackle ours. Alan has become the payload specialist, and I’m researching the balloon, parachute, FAA requirements, and flight path.
Today we hooked another co-worker, Scott. In the coming few days we’ll split off some of the work for him to own. We’ll also start blogging a lot more details about what we’ve done so far and what we have yet to accomplish.
The launch window is April 18-21, so today is T-36. We’ve got a lot of work to do!