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SHARP 3-1 Mission

Page history last edited by Robert Striemer 8 years, 7 months ago


The SHARP 3.1 Flight


November 28th, 2013


SHARP 3.1 Flight Path


If you have Google earth installed on your computer, click the link above and download the kmz file to view the flight path.


This flight is history but the evaluation is ongoing. It appears at this point that we may have loaded a little too much helium in the balloon. The ascent rate may have been faster than planned and certainly the balloon burst below the programmed cut-down altitude. See the fight path above. The programmed cut-down altitude was 36.9 km. Data and video analysis may tell us exactly what happened. As with SHARP 2; the aprs beacon cut-out after the burst only to come back to life just before landing. The descent was very fast as the parachute shroud lines became tangled in the remains of the balloon and balloon line. The beacon continued to work after impact with the ground allowing us to make a very easy recovery in a farm field just west of highway 75. 


That's all for today.


November 6th, 2013

SHARP 3.1 Flickr Photos 


November 8, 2013

Early Data (unprocessed) from SHARP 3.1 Mission


  • APRS data (position, speed, altitude). SHARP 3.1 APRS packets were received by ground stations as far away as Regina, Thunder Bay, and southern Minnesota (just north of Sioux Falls, South Dakota).
  • Acceleration and geomagnetic field in three dimensions, total B-field, payload, internal temperature, luminosity, barometric pressure and pressure altimeter data logged using an Arduino as a text file. 
  • Stratospheric Heating Experiment graph showing the difference in temperature recorded by two like sensors. One sensor covered by black electrical tape and the other by aluminum foil. Solar radiant heat produced a 10 degree temperature difference high in the stratosphere. The lowest temperature recorded on the descent through the tropopause was -50 C. The lowest interior temperature measured from inside the science module also on the descent through the tropopause  (2:30 PM) was just below -10 Celsius.
  • Geiger counter data logged unsuccessfully by the same Arduino above (text file). Suggestions as to what might have happened here would be appreciated.
  • Google Earth data (SI Units)


November 7th, 2013


SHARP 3.1 Specifications and Payload Pictures


SHARP 3.1 is a Kaymont 3000 gram helium filled balloon and a payload that was designed and built by SHARP students between 2012 to 2013. The launch date has been moved to Wednesday, November 6thdepending on approval of the flight plan by Transport Canada, Nav Canada and on the weather.


Flight Specifications

Launch volume at the Earth’s surface:                         6.48 m3 / 229 ft3

Balloon to payload length:                                           7 metres

Total payload mass (includes parachute):                    2100 grams (4.63 lbs)

Free lift:                                                                     1465 grams

Neck lift:                                                                    3565 grams

Ascent rate:                                                               4.9 m/s or about 1000 ft/min

Burst altitude:                                                            37480 metres

Burst diameter:                                                          13 metres

Payload release altitude:                                             36800 metres

Time to burst:                                                            127 minutes

Descent rate near Earth’s surface:                               5 – 8 m/s (20 – 30 km/h)

Total flight time:                                                         150 minutes                          

APRS beacon call sign:                                                VE4SHS-9

24 inch, 8 panel hemisphere parachute:                      Anchor Parachutes

Launch site:                                                               Treherne Collegiate - Treherne, MB

Launch site altitude:                                                   368 metres

Launch Time:                                                             12 PM CST - 18:00 UTC



Byonics Micro-Track 8000 APRS tracker transmits digital packets (144.390 MHz) which includes callsign, position and altitude every 30 seconds

SPOT satellite messenger



The following sensors are connected to an Arduino microcontroller which will be logging data to a memory card:

1 external temperature sensor

Geiger counter (radiation sensor)

luminosity sensor

barometric pressure sensor

1 3-axis acceleration and magnetic field sensor


The following sensors will be logging data internally:

external temperature sensors

1 internal temperature sensor


Imaging Systems

The following is a list the imaging systems used:

1 GoPro HD video camera with heated auxiliary battery pointed horizontally

Canon PowerShot A1200 running Canon Hack Development Kit CHDK pointed down

808 #16 HD video camera pointed up

1 808 #16 HD video camera pointed horizontally


Payload Release Circuits

2 SHARP developed Arduino/GPS controlled cut-down circuits


Air Regulations 

Special Flight Operations Certificate Application template (based on the Hyperion UAV SFOC template posted online by the University of Waterloo).


Payload Photos:

Communications module (top deck)

Science module (mid-deck)

Imaging module (lower deck)

cut-down wire on pcb


November 3rd, 2013


October 30th Flight Cancelled!


The SHARP 3.1 flight plan for October 30, 2013 was denied by NavCanada so the flight will be rescheduled when we clear up our regulations problem. The weather is perfect today which makes this an especially unfortunate situation. We are disappointed that we were not able to fly but we still hope to launch either in November or in 2014. Today's flight path prediction is very nearly the same as 24 hours and 48 hours ago. It would have been a great flight with our best payload yet. Next time!


October 30, 2013


SHARP 3.1 Mission Goals


1. To improve High Altitude Balloon (HAB) launch procedures

2. To use a GPS/Arduino/cutdown circuit to release the payload at programmed altitude 

3. To use an Arduino microcontroller and logger shield to record acceleration/magnetic field in three dimensions 

4. To use an Arduino microcontroller and logger shield to record barometric pressure and luminosity

5. To use two precision temperature sensors to determine the effect of radiant heating in the stratosphere (Stratospheric Heating Experiment)

6. To use an Arduino, logger shield and Geiger counter to record radioactivity throughout the flight 

7. To use an Arduino microcontroller and logger shield to record light intensity 

8. To improve imaging (1 horizontal GoPro video, 1 downward pointing Canon taking stills at intervals, 2 808 #16 key chain video boom cameras)

9. To record close-up video of Arduino controlled RC aircraft drop and payload release using boom cameras 


September 2012 

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