LIVE TODAY: Educational Balloon Will Attempt Live Video and Photos of Shuttle Launch from 100,000 Feet

By Keith Cowing
February 24, 2011
Filed under
LIVE TODAY: Educational Balloon Will Attempt Live Video and Photos of Shuttle Launch from 100,000 Feet

Launch of the Robonaut-1 payload on a high altitude Helium balloon is currently planned from a location in west-central Florida at approximately 3:30 pm EST – but could be as early as 3:20 pm. Touchdown of the payload via parachute is expected in the eastern-central portion of Florida 2 hours later. All FAA and USAF 45th Space Wing notifications have been made. The balloon will rise at a rate of 800-1,000 feet per minute (depending on conditions) placing it near or at its high point approximately the time that Space Shuttle Discovery is launched at 4:50 pm EST.

A $1,500 reward is being offered to anyone who reaches the landing site before our recovery team. More precise details of the landing zone will be provided as the mission commences.

A webcast showing launch preparations and the launch itself will begin at 3:00 pm EST and can be viewed at the following locations: http://www.ustream.tv/channel/chasing-discovery , http://www.challenger.org/live , and at http://onorbit.com/suborbital

Live streaming video will be sent back from the balloon itself during its mission. The signal should be steadily during ascent but we may lose it at one point or another. This webcast can be viewed at http://qik.com/robonaut-1 and also at http://www.challenger.org/live and also at http://onorbit.com/suborbital

Images taken from the flight including those of Discovery’s ascent will also be posted on Facebook and Picassa (link to follow).

Mission Webcast

Live Video from Balloon

Webcast schedule – Starst at 3:00 pm EST

T-Minus 30
– Quest For Stars–background/goals – what the team is trying to accomplish–STEM and Participatory Exploration – while filming Discovery.
– Tweeting begins at @questforstars
– Facebook status updates begin here

– With Mission Control
– Media allowed to start interviews
– Payload Staging begins
– Balloon OPS begins
– Tracking/sensors powered up–warm up–validate tracking

T-Minus 20 Mission Fun Factoids
– Weight at take-off (breakdown) balloon diameter
– Predicted “Apogee” of flight (and contest) maximum altitude–32 km
– Predicted flight time/distance

T-Minus 15
– FAA notification / Cameras all go to launch
– Rigging begins
– Balloon fill commences
– Chase vehicles loaded (refer to vehicle check list)

T-Minus 2
– Balloon sealed and attached to flight position.
– Payload secured

T-Minus 1
– Students assemble with payload train
– Air horn blast

T-Minus 10 SECONDS
– Manual countdown

T-Minus 0
“And Liftoff of Robonaut-1, Chasing Discovery through the heavens to promote STEM education”

-30 second altitude call out for 5 minutes

SpaceRef co-founder, Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA, Away Teams, Journalist, Space & Astrobiology, Lapsed climber.