First, here is chapter and verse from the FAA regulations:
Balloons that use a rope or other device for suspension of the payload that requires an impact force of fifty pounds or less to separate the suspended payload from the balloon.
In plain English, I believe this means our rope should be no stronger than 50 pound test – and maybe shouldn’t be doubled. OK.
How do we decide on harness dimensions? I haven’t tried to research this yet, but I’m also pretty sure I haven’t seen anyone’s write-up on the subject. Is there an optimal or recommended minimum separation between balloon and parachute? Between parachute and payload? Does it matter exactly where the radar reflector goes between the parachute and the payload? We don’t have any answers yet. Time to do some web-surfing…