Launching, tracking and flying high altitude weather balloons in the Rochester, NY area
OLHZN-9 :: Helios 2017-08-22T03:19:02+00:00

Initial Video Releases

About OLHZN-9 :: Helios

FIRST LOOK AT CAMERA FOOTAGE: See Facebook Live Stream Here

OLHZN-9 is the ninth planned high altitude weather balloon flight for Overlook Horizon High Altitude Balloons.  This flight is scheduled for August 21, 2017 and is expected to launch at 1:10pm ET (17:10 UTC) during the total solar eclipse in the United States. The focus of this flight will be to capture video footage of the solar eclipse as well as to solidify our radio tracking systems to ensure that our repairs we made on OLHZN-8 are still working well. We will also be measuring temperature again on this flight and looking specifically at temperature deviations that may be measurable as the eclipse is occurring.  This flight will again use three Lightdow LD4000 Cameras including one upwards facing camera recording the balloon and the solar eclipse.

The launch location for this flight will be determined no later than 6 to 24 hours prior to the flight.  This is quite unusual for us, but this flight planning is backwards from our normal procedures.  Usually, we have a location in mind and we wait to choose an appropriate date and time that will ensure a safe and acceptable landing zone. This flight, however, coincides with the solar eclipse happening on August 21st, so the date and time are fixed, but we must still ensure a safe landing zone.  In order to accomplish this, we’ll be adjusting and evaluating our launch location every 6 hours as new GFS prediction models are published to determine a launch location that will lead us to a safe and acceptable landing zone.

Live Broadcast

If our launch location does not have enough mobile bandwidth to support YouTube and Facebook Live at the same time, we may be live on Facebook only. If so, you can view our Facebook Live broadcast here.

Mission Details

Important Info

This flight will again feature three Lightdow LD4000 Cameras including one as an upwards facing balloon camera to try to capture the balloon burst event and also capture the solar eclipse as it’s happening. We’ve adjusted our landing alarm to resolve our only electronic issue from our nearly perfect last flight, OLHZN-8. The new landing alarm will utilize our anomaly alarm assembly instead of our previous landing alarm.  The previous alarm will still be in use for startup and boot sequence identifications, but will no longer be used during landing.

This flight will also feature a larger 1500g balloon – our largest balloon yet!  At 1500g in size, this balloon should burst at around 32 feet in diameter which should certainly put us at an altitude well over 100,000 ft. with our early predictions indicating an expected maximum altitude of 112,000 ft. to 115,000 ft.

The main focus of this flight will be to try to capture the solar eclipse from the air as it’s happening.  We’ll be measuring possible temperature deviations caused by the eclipse, have a view of the sun as the eclipse is happening and a view of the ground and the casted shadows happening all during the event.  We may need to change launch locations drastically to ensure a safe landing.  If you’ll be watching the solar eclipse from your location, be sure to use Eclipse Glasses that are officially certified by both CE and ISO for safe viewing.

This flight will feature an additional secondary radio tracking device also broadcasting on APRS with the callsign KD2KPZ-12. This is in addition to our regular APRS radio broadcasting which will still occur under callsign KD2KPZ-11.  This is just a third backup option that was graciously provided by Mike Hojnowski (KD2EAT) who will be joining us for launch and recovery operations on this flight.

Local Solar Eclipse View

Flight Prediction

OLHZN-9 Weather Balloon Flight Final Prediction

Latest Update 8/21

A final decision has been made.  Launch will definitely occur at Canandaigua Academy. Our FAA notifications have been filed and there’s no turning back now. We still have a water landing risk for both Skaneateles and Otisco Lakes, although the Otisco Lake hazard is a touch to the North of our predictions so we could miss it. They are both in very close proximity to each other, but yet relatively narrow too so hopefully that works in our favor.  Fortunately, most items on the payload float and it’s relatively water resistant so a water landing shouldn’t be devastating. No further changes to the launch site will occur from this point forward. Balloon filling procedures will begin at 12:15pm ET (16:15 UTC) and lift-off is scheduled for 1:10pm ET (17:10 UTC).

OLHZN-9 Weather Balloon Flight Prediction #8 Heat Map

In the News

Technical Specifications

  • Launch Time:  August 21, 2017 at 1:10pm ET (17:10 UTC)

  • Expected Launch Location: TBD based on wind forecast 6 to 24 hours prior to flight.

  • Target Ascent Rate: 4.35 m/s

  • Target Burst Altitude: 112,000 ft.

  • Expected Time to Burst: 131 minutes

  • Target Helium Volume: 137.0 cu ft.

  • Payload Mass: 1650g (3.63 lbs)

  • Target Neck Positive Lift: 868g

  • Expected Landing Speed: 6 m/s

  • Expected Descent Time: 38 minutes

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