April 28th, 2011 | Uncategorized

Yale Aerospace Association stages balloon flight

Ever wondered what the grassy plains of Connecticut look like from 100,000 feet up?

The Yale Aerospace Association now knows, after having successfully staged a balloon flight that YAA President Israel Kositsky ’13 said can be considered “the most advanced amateur launch out there.”

The ‘Horizon’, a balloon attached to a microprocessor, a GPS tracker, a camera and a parachute, was launched at 8:30 a.m. on Tuesday, in nearby New Britain, Connecticut. New Haven would not have been suitable because of its proximity to water, Kositsky explained.

The device managed to reach a height of 100,000 feet. That figure, according to Kositsky, exceeds the heights at which both commercial airliners and military planes generally fly (the former approaches 40,000 while the latter can reach 70,000).

Many balloon flights are equipped with GPS trackers so that their trajectories can be followed.

But what made this particular flight so significant was the fact that the YAA-designed microprocessor transmitted what Kositsky described as “second-to-second updates” back to the ground.

Once the balloon reached 100,00 feet, it expanded to 18 diameters and burst. The parachute then brought the hardware back down.

The flight lasted for 3 hours. Intrepid YAA members rescued the ‘Horizon’ from a tree, posed with its remnants and then drove back to New Haven.

Their next goal, according to Kositsky, is to launch a satellite with a live video feed. Perhaps we should invest in curtains.