This was the fifth balloon launch for Vienna Wireless Society. We launched the balloon from Strasburg, Virginia and it landed, much to our amazement, back in Vienna, within walking distance of the homes of many club members.
The balloon had two payloads, one with a camera and three transmitters. The second payload had several peeps, some seed packets and a second camera. Below the second payload were four or five “peeponaut deployment vehicles” (balloons containint peeps tied to tiny parachutes).
The weather on the ground was cold and damp with heavy overcast. We lost sight of the balloon fairly quickly. However, we did recover one of the peeponauts as it deployed while the balloon was only around 100′ up. In all the launches with peeps, it’s the only peeponaut ever to be heard from again.
The balloon burst around 82,000 feet, earlier than we had planned. The flight path was a little south of east and while descending the flight path went about two miles off the south end of the runway 1/19 at Dulles (though well above normal airport flight operations).
The balloon came to rest in a tree at the corner of Lawyers Road and Laurel Ridge Road in Vienna. John/KA4YMA put his climbing skills on display and retrieved it from the tree.
Overall the event was a success. The APRS transmitter worked well. The 2m 17mw CW beacon performed well. The only thing that didn’t go as planned were the cameras. One camera power supply failed before launch and the other camera didn’t take pictures automatically as it was intended to. I guess that gives us something to work on for VWS 6 whenever that happens.