Cincinnati Mini Makerfaire: Space Balloon

Hello Hive 1 3,

In case you missed the June 11 meeting, I am coordinating a team to launch the space balloon at the Mini Maker Faire on October 19th. Since the last thread is a bit cluttered I figured a new one is in order. Relevant links are posted below.

I am looking for a small team (~5) of people to help build this project. I need at least 2 people that are proficient in electronics and everyone should be able to devote 5hrs per week in order to make this happen. We will be doing a test launch before Oct 19th to fix issues that we will run into. Please shoot me a private message and we can exchange more reliable information for communication.

Project Goals:

  1. Moor the space balloon at the Maker Faire with a live stream. GoPro HD would be best.

  2. Launch the balloon to an altitude of 100,000 ft with a payload of 4lbs.

  3. Be able to have the balloon cut away automatically (FAA requirement).

  4. Safely have the payload parachute down within 60mi of Cincinnati.

I called the FAA, and here are the regulations that we have to follow:

It looks like we are in the clear unless I misunderstood one. For the most part, I just have to call the local ATC office and inform them that we are doing an unmanned balloon launch within 24 hours of the actual launch. We are also allowed to moor the balloon prior to launch.


Previous thread

Previous flights/designs:

Our balloon

This balloon has a volume of 268ci requiring a 300ci tank purchase. According to AirGas on Mosteller rd, that will cost around $250.00 with tax

Our parachute

Current materials spreadsheet courtesy of Daniel

Helium chart

I will be at the Makerfaire Q&A this evening to collaborate with Jason.

Currently working with FAA officials right now. They say we might violate the following:

§ 101.33 Operating limitations.

No person may operate an unmanned free balloon—

(a) Unless otherwise authorized by ATC, below 2,000 feet above the surface within the lateral boundaries of the surface areas of Class B, Class C, Class D, or Class E airspace designated for an airport;

(b) At any altitude where there are clouds or obscuring phenomena of more than five-tenths coverage;

(c) At any altitude below 60,000 feet standard pressure altitude where the horizontal visibility is less than five miles;

(d) During he first 1,000 feet of ascent, over a congested area of a city, town, or settlement or an open-air assembly of persons not associated with the operation; or

(e) In such a manner that impact of the balloon, or part thereof including its payload, with the surface creates a hazard to persons or property not associated with the operation.

Hi all! Unfortunately we are not making any headway on the FAA allowing us to moor this balloon, let alone launch it from Washington Park. I would still like to make this happen in the future where we don’t face any restrictions, but for the moment it is not in the cards for this years Maker Faire. I am open to all ideas so if you have any- let me know!