Space Balloon Project

I was under the impression that someone had started the space balloon project then abandoned it after gathering some of the necessary parts for it. If that's true would anybody know where those parts are being stored? It'd be nice to not have to duplicate previous efforts and save a bit of money.


Yes, there are some space balloon parts around the Hive. I won't be
at the meeting this coming Tuesday, but Jon and DaveM could help find
them. There are styrofoam containers on the top shelves and a weather
balloon on the shelves behind CinD-LOU. We had some electronics quite
a while back. Recently, few folks have expressed interest in being
involved in this project restart.


That was me. I left the balloon and parachute in my locker, but it sounds like they’ve been moved in the interim. I had also bought two Canon cameras from DaveM for the project but they were borrowed and loaned and moved around long ago, so finding them might take a bit more legwork. I never lost interest in the project, just didn’t have the time to spearhead it. I’d love to be involved if it moves forward.


I’d love to actually see the Jason Bailey at the hive. That would be cool by itself. One more reason to work on this!

I don’t know if it would be helpful or not, but I have a metric shit ton of atmospheric pressure sensors that have a 0-5V output for use with a MCU’s ADC. I can steal them from ECUs that I scrap. They’re high quality denso parts. I can try to find a datasheet if an atmospheric pressure sensor would be helpful to have.

Hi Jason! I agree with DaveB it is good to hear from you.

It looks like a space balloon phoenix is getting some lift to get
airborne again.

See the attached email below from the somewhat aligned "Friend of the
HIVE" iSPACE organization we've been talking with. Back in March,
they invited HIVE13 to participate in their Space Day on Saturday May
18. We've missed their RSVP deadline, but if we set this day as a
DEADLINE, maybe they'd still let us come as it would be REALLY NEAT to
participate at their event as HIVE13 and do a space balloon launch
from there on that day.

How about we organize a HIVE13 space balloon HACKATHON day event
before that deadline to get it together and assemble the space
balloon? Anyone want to suggest a day and time?


I would LOVE to get involved in this project!!! I remember hearing about this years ago (maybe when we just started coming around the hive when it began?) and had totally forgotten!!

Folks: I am in Detroit and will miss tonite's HIVE meeting. I was able to go see the i3 Detroit hackerspace last Thursday and will try to go to their meeting tonite. They have a neat space and I got some good ideas to bring back for Jon to consider.

Bring up the space balloon group project idea in tonite's HIVE meeting and see if there is any concensus to set a date for a project hackathon prior to the iSpace event. Post any good news on next steps (or to volunteer more team member interest/support) to this thread.

Wanting to see this get off the ground... Jim

Jackerpots! I have three heavier styrofoam cooler sizes to choose from. Just a warning though, I remember using one for drinks on a trip, the styro is not completly water proof, I remember seepage on the floor under the cooler.

I’ll drop them off at the Hive tonight after work

Wasn’t able to make it to the meeting last night—what’s the word on the balloon? I’m willing to donate a bit of time and/or $ to help it get off the ground (so to speak) if someone is spearheading the project.



Thanks Jason, I found the parts you had collected including the two cameras. I’ve read about others using a prepaid Android smartphone with their space balloon so the pictures, video and GPS coordinates would be transmitted. It sounds like a decent idea to me and I think even if it doesn’t maintain a data connection all the way up it might be able to reconnect while descending and send the information to something like dropbox. Also, if the phone survives the landing it could be helpful for recovery if it’s still sending its coordinates.

If anybody’s interested in working on this, I’d planned on coming in either tomorrow or this weekend to begin sorting out what needs to be done and start building what we can or figuring out where to get what we’re missing. I can offer free beer and hi-fives to those who help. On that note, if anyone has a huge tank of helium collecting dust it would be most appreciated if you were to donate it.


I cannot come by this weekend because I am attending a conference. It would be much appreciated for myself and others if this thread can stay active, give updates, and other meeting days. I know I would love to be involved and this is my main way of getting information. Good luck sorting things out!!!

What day would work best for everyone to meet to sort out the Space Balloon project? I have no life for the most part so I can be there pretty much any day. If you’re interested just list the days/times you can be here.


Maybe this link help


I left two heavy-duty mailing coolers at the Hive for this project or any other.

Thank you for the coolers Tiffany! I’m currently here at the hive if anyone’s interested in joining me. I’m gathering ideas on how this can be done at the moment. There seems to be a lot of great resources on the internet for this and some really cool possibilities, including the link Marvin provided us with. It’s really just a matter of figuring out what our objective is and how to proceed based on that. Honestly I’m thinking it would make sense to do it as quick and simply as possible for a first attempt and expand in the future. Does anyone have any input on that?



I think you are on a good path. I'll join in to help facilitate a
discussion and coordinate the goals. Quick and simple is good. Here
are some first considerations for interested folks to investigate and
reply to.

(1) Do we have several surplus weather balloons? One is good, but
having say 3 or 5 would give us some working room. What is a source
and what is the price?

(2) Do we inflate with helium or hydrogen? Helium is the obvious
first/safe choice, but now two sources say it is $$$. Hydrogen is
lighter but brings the Hindenburg risk (or excitement?). Again what
is the source and what is the price.

(3) What do we want our payload to be? A barometric pressure sensor,
webcam, GPS locator, and broadcasting capability? Can anyone offer
donations and scrounge components?

(4) How do we want to do base station and recovery techniques? Again
what hardware can we get donated and who will volunteer to be on the
tracking, search and recovery team? Can we really expect to find it
in some farmer's tree 100 miles away?

(5) A good first start could be based on just (1) and (2). We could
do a first alpha inflation, tethered weight-lift test, and initial
release just for the fun and excitement as a motivational learning

All are welcome to reply to these numbered points and/or add your new
info and thoughts...


Some local suppliers:

Air Products & Chemicals
4900 Este Ave.
Cincinnati, OH 45232
(513) 242-9215

1200 Gest St # B
Cincinnati, OH 45203
(513) 721-5614

8376 Reading Rd
Cincinnati, OH 45237
(513) 821-2192

Wright Brothers, Inc.
7825 Cooper Road
Montgomery, OH 45242
513) 731-2222

Google question - volume of helium in a weather balloon?


These looks like good simple designs that we could use the existing parts with: (Probably the best source. Look at the /GUIDE section.)

As far as I know there’s only the one balloon that Jason supplied. It looks like we’d need an 800-1200 gram balloon if we were to purchase another and from the quick search I did they’re upward of $75 for an 800g.


I can donate my OG Droid for use as the communications package. If that doesn’t work, an old iPhone and the “find my iPhone” app might work.