Stratofox Aerospace Tracking Team presentation at Space Access 2013
StratofoxAerospace Tracking Team Presented by Ian Kluft Space Access 2013 Conference Phoenix, Arizona April 11, 2013
Stratofox Aerospace Tracking Team zThe goal: You launch it. We bring it back.
Stratofox Aerospace Tracking TeamWe help builders of high-altitude rockets andballoons with search and recovery of theirvehiclesStratofox provides search services either As the whole search team Or adding to an existing search team
About StratofoxIn addition to helping with the search...Stratofox aims to assist in getting amateur, non-profit, educational and entrepreneurialaerospace projects off the groundWe make no secret that were trying to getinvitations for our members to “all the coollaunches”
What does Stratofox stand for?The name Stratofox stands for “stratosphericfoxhunt” Stratosphere: layer of atmosphere 8-25 miles Foxhunt: Ham Radio hidden-transmitter hunt gamesNo one can tell you where they hid it It fell from the sky - most difficult hidden transmitterChallenging environment for electronics Cold, vibration Rockets have to deal with heat too
Who is Stratofox?65 membersAbout a dozen founding members in 2002We have done searches for rockets atNevadas Black Rock Desert and balloons allover Central CaliforniaCan happen anywhere that team members goMembers have experience in Ham Radio,aviation, high-power rocketry, 4x4, astronomy,search & rescue, etc.
HighlightsRecovered CSXT Space Shot 2004 at BlackRock Desert NV, first amateur rocket to spaceRange Safety & search functions for CSXT,Paragon Labs, AeroPac at Black RockRecovered research balloons for StanfordUniversity and NASA AmesRecovered lost payload at Black Rock NV forSoka University of JapanRecovered CNSP-10 balloon minutes afterlanding from altitude record 136,545 flight
Highlights Stratofox has the distinction of recovering vehicles that set altitude records for Amateur Rocketry and Amateur Radio BallooningCSXT Space Shot - May 2004: 380,000 (still holds this record)CNSP-10 balloon - Oct 2011: 136,545
CSXT Space Shot 2004Stratofox recovers the spacecraft Launch 5/17/2004 11:12AM Electronics recovered by noon next day Altitude 72 miles/115 km 18 miles from launch pad In mountains at 6100
CSXT Space Shot 2004 Stratofox recovers the spacecraft Radio direction finding for secondary beacon attached to parachute Found it at 6100 elevation after very strenuous hike around noon on May 18Stratofox group picture: Will Galloway AE6EY, Ian Kluft KO6YQ, Jeremy Cooper KE6JJJ, Sean LynchKG6CVV, Randy Palmer WA6LCD, Steve Palmer KA6DHU and Rob Palmer. Not shown: Diane PalmerKC6HVP, Christian Void KF6IHU, Colleen Brennan and Jay Lawson.
Search for missing CSXT booster Amazing detective story! No signals heard from the booster after descent - presumed lost In July 2004, CSXT analysis of Stratofox audio recording of sonic boom indicated boosters parachute was deployed on re-entry Ground searches were done in August Early winter cut searches
Missing CSXT booster recovered November 2004Nov 10 - BLM charteredhelicopter doing survey of wildhorses finds the booster nearwhere we had searchedNov 15 - BLM notifies CSXTand StratofoxNov 26 – Stratofox 4x4expedition in mud/snowrecovers the booster hoursbefore a snowstormVideo is on YouTube
Stratofox recovers CSXT booster Booster lost radio transmitters on re-entry recovered 6 months later
Eric Knights “New Race to Space” bookPublished Jan 2011Eric was CSXT Avionicsteam leaderStory of CSXTs all-volunteer space shotMany mentions of StratofoxEric made enormous effortto credit all volunteersthenewracetospace.com
Black Rock Desert ExpertiseStratofox is familiar w/ topography, airspaceand safety issues of Black Rock Desert NVWe helped CSXT and Paragon meet FAAspace launch requirements in 2003-2005UC Boulders HySOR project found federallaunch ranges to be budget busters Choosing Black Rock and bringing Stratofox on board solved that problem
Paragon Astronautics 4 rocket launches 2003-2005Helped with searchesHelped with rangesafety to meet FAAlaunch requirementsStratofoxs first find asa team in 2003 was ata Paragon test launchat Black Rock
AeroPac To100K 3 rocket launches 2005-2006Rocket club at BlackRock wanted to reach100,000 withcommercial motorsfor hobbyists.3 attempts by club.1St stages worked. Nd2 stages crashed.Goal was achieved bymembers of the club,but not by this rocket.
Stanford/NASA BioLaunch 8 balloons 2007-2008NASA-funded balloon experimentsexposed DNA samples to solar radiationStratofox supported balloon searchesalongside Stanford students & professorStratofox supported with air & groundsearch, communications and safetycoordinationStanford was so confident in Stratofoxthat B07E/F and B08A/B were flown insimultaneous pairs B07A Jan 2007 nearSome Stanford students liked the hunt Gilroy, Californiaand joined Stratofox
Stanford/NASA BioLaunchB07C May 2007 near B07F Dec 2007 near B08A Mar 2008 near Tracy, California Los Banos, California Merced, California
Soka University CanSat Search 1 missing payload 2009AeroPac asked forhelp to find Soka Univ(Japan) payload lostat Black Rock in 2009Dead transmitterWorse odds than aneedle in a haystackStratofox drew up 2x2mile search areaFound it!
California Near Space Project balloons 2010-presentBalloons launched from San Jose, CaliforniaMany attempts at Amateur Radio balloonaltitude recordSuccessful altitude record-setting flight Oct 2011 CNSP-10 – 136,545 altitude recordPushing the limits of what experts thought waspossible with standard/cheap latex balloons
CNSP-10 altitude record Oct 23, 2011Launched from South San Jose, CARecord setting altitude 136,545 over Tracy, CATumbling payload sent no packets during fallLanded in backyard in Manteca, CACNSP and Stratofox got visual on fallingballoon payload from different locationsStratofox got 1 APRS packet after landingKnocked on door before resident knew about it
CNSP-10 altitude record Oct 23, 2011Stratofox crew with CNSP-10 at landing site Manteca, California
CNSP-10 altitude record Oct 23, 2011Bay Area NBC11 studio interview with Ron & Ian
CNSP-11/12/13/14 launch Dec 11, 2011CNSP launched 4 balloons at once on Dec 11 CNSP-13 & -14 for altitude, launched before sunset CNSP-11 & -12 as distance floater experimentsStratofox went immediately to chase 13 & 1411 & 12 tried to replicate Nov 2010 Utah flight Goal was at least to get them to Colorado this time Launched at sunset for minimal UV degradation Not expected to last the day after sunrise
What about CNSP-12/13/14?13 & 14 altitude attempts lost GPS lock 3 Stratofox vehicles chased as far as Mariposa, CA GPS receivers froze in cold above 125,000 We found that BeeLines transmit 109,373 upon loss of GPS lock – unfortunate choice of error code Stratofox verified reception from balloons still in flight when APRS.FI showed no new data Settled debate: night altitude attempts not feasible12 cruised at 120,000 landed in a tree in Freedom, Indiana
CNSP-11 “The little balloon that could”Slowest to climb to altitude Seemed at first to be a failure “Just right” fill turned out to be key to endurance Leveled off at 110,000, ground speed 150mph For 2½ days! Crossed US mainland, out to sea over Atlantic City NJ Awesome help from Hams: Azores, Portugal, Spain Hams changed from European APRS 144.8 to US 144.39 to forward tracking data to APRS-IS network Burst and splashdown in Mediterranean Sea
CNSP-11 world records setAmateur Radio ballooning records First US transcontinental flight First transatlantic flight Duration: 57 hours, 2 minutes Duration record re-taken by Cornell Univ in Mar 2012 Distance: 6236 miles from San Jose launch site great circle distance, not ground track Records maintained at arhab.orgNot absolute records – univ/govt projects havedone more at vastly greater expense
CNSP-11 distance/duration record Dec 11-14, 2011 Map of CNSP-11 flight from APRS.FI
CNSP-11 distance/duration record Dec 11-14Ron Meadows K6RPT has made efforts to thank all volunteers involved in the CNSP balloons.This includes Hams on both sides of the Atlantic,and the Azores Islands. He considers them part of the California Near Space Project team.
Could this be done again?CNSP was only trying to reach Colorado withCNSP-11 and CNSP-12 It was an unintentional transatlantic crossing!Cornell Univ re-took duration record in March,but still failed to cross Atlantic from Upstate NYTransatlantic flight tough even from East Coast!CNSP tried again with CNSP-18 If it worked, this time it would be intentional.
CNSP-18 transatlantic attemptWaited for long nights, good winds aloft Long nights minimize solar degradation of latex Winds aloft in Stratosphere, well above jet streamMeteorologist Mark Conner N9XTN said go! More northern route estimated this timeLaunch Usual CNSP launch site in south San Jose, CA after sunset Sun Dec 2, 2012
CNSP-18 over US & CanadaReceiving direct signals gives “ground truth” toverify Internet telemetry is catching everything Launch site watched from San Jose until Sierras I received packets from Mojave while balloon went from over Sierras to Zion NP in UTWe confirmed GPS signal lock was weakerthan expected Some recurring dropoutsPossible interference by GPSs heater New addition to prevent GPS dying in cold nights
CNSP-18 over US & CanadaLevel at 110,000 just like CNSP-11Flight continued over Denver, Chicago, MaineOut to sea over Nova ScotiaHams in Newfoundland tracked it 400 miles outThen nothing...Storm over Azores: Tropical Depression 91L Frequent lightning possible cause for concern Unknown what Sprites do to stratospheric balloons
CNSP-18 over US & CanadaImagery by California Near Space Project
CNSP-18 reaches MoroccoAfter 22 hours of no telemetry, got to Morocco We call it the “22 hours of terror”Landed 100mi inland, north of Taza, Morocco Telemetry over Morocco relayed by Hams in SpainRecovered by farmer the same morningCNSP-18 confirmed CNSP-11 was no fluke 2nd transcontinental flight 2nd transatlantic flight 2nd place distance: 6,080.4 great circle miles 6,080.40 miles
CNSP-18 transatlantic successImagery by California Near Space Project
Joining StratofoxCan you help the team?Were always recruiting.
If youre interested in StratofoxStratofox is admittedly picky about new membershipWe have to keep the group trustworthy – our clients maybe competitors of each otherWe have to be trusted by all partiesThere is no room for spectators in the deep desert –everyone has to “carry their own weight” out therePotential new members need to have a useful skill
Useful skills for membership Any of these, the more the betterPrimary skills Secondary skills Private Pilot or better Astronomy Amateur Radio license Navigation, GPS & maps High-power rocketry cert 4x4/off-roading Search & Rescue Electronics or Aerospace Engineering Emergency medical training (WFR, EMT) Logistical planning Got something else you think is useful? Ask!
How to Join StratofoxBe ready to participate – no spectatorsHave a useful skill Amateur radio license, pilot license, high-power rocketry, 4x4, navigation, First Aid/CPR, etcGet referred by a Stratofox memberParticipate in an eventGet voted in based on your participation http://stratofox.org/join
Upcoming eventsCalifornia Near Space Project balloonusually short notice when winds aloft are goodUniv of Colorado at BoulderHySOR suborbital sounding rocketBlack Rock Desert, Spring 2014Embry-Riddle Aeronautical UniversityIcarus III sounding rocketBlack Rock Desert, no current statusMars Society TEMPO3 research balloonColorado, no current status
Non-profit organizationStratofox is part of a 501(c)3 non-profitOut-of-pocket expenses may be tax deductibleDonations are tax deductible http://stratofox.org/
The endPhoto: Stratofox ground crew Pilot: Ben Woodard KG6FNKgives the shutdown signal to Ground: Owen DeLong KB6MERsearch plane pilot at AeroPac Note: ground crew giving signals to pilots must be pilots tooTo100K in September 2005