Friday, December 4, 2009

We launched our first payload!

Greetings! This is Amanda, a Master's student from the University of Washington working for Michael McCarthy and a member of the BARREL team. Two days ago, on Dec. 2nd (Dec. 1st for those in the US) we successfully launched our first payload! It was an exciting day that we want to share with you.

As Robyn said, CREAM was supposed to launch first at 1 AM that day and we were scheduled to launch at 1 PM. After some weather delays, CREAM actually did not launch until 10 AM, so we were all able to witness it. Here is a brief look at their launch:

It took 50 minutes to fill up the 900-foot-tall balloon with helium.

The payload flies right over our heads, on it's way to 100,000 ft.

After watching their successful launch, we were hoping to continue the trend later in the afternoon. Our whole operation is much smaller than CREAM. Their payload was thousands of pounds, whereas our payload is only 40 pounds. Our balloon is also only 80 ft. tall and takes about 5 minutes to inflate. Luckily we had two payloads ready because one began to malfunction, so we moved to our back-up.

Here we are moving the payload out to the launch site

The payload is ready and the balloon is being laid out

Inflating the balloon

The balloon begins to pick the payload up

Launch successful!