Latest Mission, NearSys 11N

Near space is the poorman's space program. It permits you to fly experiments into a space like environment for a faction of the cost of a satellite launch. This forum is where Nuts and Volts readers can share information and data from near space missions - both past flights and those under preparation.

Moderator: Paul Verhage

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Paul Verhage
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Joined: Wed Aug 03, 2011 11:01 am

Latest Mission, NearSys 11N

Post by Paul Verhage » Tue Nov 15, 2011 6:45 am

I traveled to Omaha for a launch last Saturday and I'd like to share some results. We launched from the town of Valley, west of Omaha and the home of my friend Mark Conner. Mark has helped me launch near spacecraft beginning in 1998. This was my 99th flight and it carried several instruments including cameras, photometers, geiger counters, and an infrared thermometer. Due to an underfilled helium tank, we were forced to reduce the payload and as a result, the cameras did not go up. This also meant the parachute did not have to bring as much weight back down (which created a problem as you'll read).

The mission reached 84,800 feet and landed near Adair, Iowa. Because of the lower payload weight, the parachute brought the near spacecraft back to earth slower than usual, making the chase longer. Had the descent been at the typical 1,000 feet per minute, the recovery would have been a cinch. The winds aloft were high enough that combined with the slow descent speed meant that touchdown occured in a small woods. I discovered on this mission that even without leaves, near spacecraft land on the top, most inaccessible parts of a tree. It took Mark and me about an hour to pull everything out of the tree.

Trees are nice, but please, don't let them eat my parachutes.

You can view the flight data on my website,

Onwards and upwards,

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