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How to deploy parachute after balloon pops

  1. Jan 29, 2016 #1
    Hello, not sure if this is the correct forum to post this under, but anyway. I am planning on sending a gopro around 100,000 feet up. When the balloon pops, I want it to eventually open a parachute and fall down to the ground safely. Although if the parachute opens right away, it could drift miles away from the launch site. What would be the best way to make the parachute open? Thanks for your help
     
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  3. Jan 29, 2016 #2

    CWatters

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  4. Jan 29, 2016 #3

    CWatters

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    Read this...

    http://www.thefintels.com/aer/hab.htm [Broken]

    Has some comments on parachute size.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 7, 2017
  5. Jan 29, 2016 #4
    You could put a gas sensor inside the balloon and fill it with the particular gas i.e. hydrogen, or draw a strip of conductive paint on the balloon.
     
  6. Jan 29, 2016 #5
    How about a simple mechanical switch held open (or closed) by a weight. When the balloon pops the camera will be in free fall (weightless).
     
  7. Jan 29, 2016 #6

    berkeman

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    If it were me, I'd use a microcontroller with a GPS module and a steerable parachute to guide the vehicle back to the launch point. Why have to drive around looking for your payload? The balloon is going to drift a lot on its own, so using a steerable parachute to glide back to the launch point only makes sense, IMO... :smile:
     
  8. Jan 30, 2016 #7

    Daz

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    Since when did PF encourage dangerous activities?

    To the OP: don’t even consider doing what you describe until you have obtained approval and authorization from the relevant regulatory authority. In the US that would be the FAA, in the UK it would be the CAA.

    Since your aerial vehicle (balloon) will be operating out of line-of-sight it will, of course, be required to carry the relevant PSR reflectors and probably anti-collision lights, too. And in most parts of the world, everything above 10,000 feet is designated category C airspace. If you’re planning to fly your vehicle in cat. C airspace, then in most countries it will be required by law to carry a mode-C transponder. And to operate the mode-C you’ll need a GPS and a barometric altimeter.

    If you ignore the rules and your GoPro ends up in the engine of a commercial airliner at 38,000 feet, you’ll need a spare thirty million or so lying around to pay compensation. And if it smashes through the cockpit of an airliner flying at 500MPH, killing hundreds of people, then I wouldn’t rate your chances of avoiding prison very highly.

    In short, don’t fly anything above 10,000 feet unless you know the legal and regulatory landscape. Even below 10,000 feet you can still get into trouble. For example, did you know that if your balloon passes within a 30 mile radius of a primary airport in category-B airspace you’d also be committing a criminal offense?(At least in Europe, probably the same in the US.)
     
  9. Jan 30, 2016 #8

    berkeman

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    Good point. We've had threads here before about amateur high-altitude balloon flights, but I don't remember offhand what approvals are needed. Thanks for bringing up this aspect.
     
  10. Jan 30, 2016 #9

    CWatters

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    Do check with the FAA but the link I posted above says...

    http://www.thefintels.com/aer/hab.htm [Broken]

     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 7, 2017
  11. Jan 30, 2016 #10

    CWatters

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    Ok so both of these suggestion will tell the on board electronics that the balloon has popped but then what? The OP doesn't want to deploy the parachute immediately because it will drift a long way.

    You can't safely use a timer to delay the opening. What happens if the balloon bursts at 50,000 ft instead of 100,000 ft ? The time delay might still be running when it smashes into the ground.
     
  12. Jan 30, 2016 #11
    Maybe.
    A longer decent would mean more photos or video gets taken. That would mean more options available for whatever he's using it for. Having several times more raw material to work with may be worth a longer retrieval drive.
     
  13. Jan 30, 2016 #12

    CWatters

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    He seems quite clear in his OP.
     
  14. Feb 1, 2016 #13
    Thanks to all who commented. I do know I will need to contact the FAA for this. But also, where I live there are roads and woods. I like what @berkeman said about being able to control the parachute. This would be very very useful. I'm not quite sure how to go about doing this though. If you can, could you send me a pm and help me figure it out? Thanks
     
  15. Feb 1, 2016 #14

    A.T.

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    I doubt a "steerable parachute" will make it all the way upwind, back to the lunch side, so you have to drive for miles anyway. Unless you plan to do this many times, the time you will spend on building and testing the steering will be more than the potential time saving during retrieval.
     
  16. Feb 2, 2016 #15
    @A.T. That's also a good point. What's the farthest distance it could travel?
     
  17. Feb 2, 2016 #16

    CWatters

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    That depends on how fast it goes up and the wind speeds. Flights of >50 miles are possible...
     
  18. Feb 2, 2016 #17
    Thanks, also. Can anyone help me out with a tracking device? What is a good way to be able to locate it after it lands?
     
  19. Feb 2, 2016 #18
    Go-pros are light, i'm not a physicist but it will probably blow around with the parachute a lot. I suggest gps
     
  20. Feb 2, 2016 #19

    berkeman

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    What has your reading indicated would be a good tracking mechanism? What research have you been doing on your own outside of asking questions in web forums?
     
  21. Feb 2, 2016 #20
    Why a GoPro?

    You can get a no-contract cell phone fairly cheap.
    Put an app on it that will take pics or video and save to a cloud service over the cell phone network.
    Put another app on it that will allow you to track it remotely.

    Send it up with a balloon and parachute system. When it comes down, log on and see where it landed. If it winds up in the top of a tree or someplace inaccessible, you can still get the pics/video from the cloud service.

    No pun intended on the "cloud" thing ;-)
     
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