Gemini-01 Weather Balloon Flight

The Gemini 1 was our first real successful weather balloon capsule. After the disappointing near success of the Vega 1, we spent two  weeks redesigning overhauling the entire capsule, creating a cheaper, lighter, more accessible and an overall better build. Here’s what we did.

1. Replaced the Styrofoam cooler with two 2000 cm^3 boxes attached together with glue, tape and a tube of PVC wedged in a hole drilled into both containers.

2. Rearranged the electronics inside to make the on/off switches more accessible

3. Attached the parachute/balloon strings directly to the module body

4. Two cameras were replaced by a high quality GoPro Hero 3

5. Accelerometer chip was added

6. Black Styrofoam composite replaces normal white Styrofoam

These changes led to a resounding success of a flight, not only did we make recovery of the capsule and everything inside, we also capturing high quality footage of the upward flight. You can check the highlight reel out here, or in our media tab Unfortunately, at apogee, the camera flipped, providing us with wonderful footage of the Styrofoam coating the bottom of the capsule. The code on the altimeter and accelerometer was also slightly off, and thus the data that we received was arranged in an extremely strange pattern. We managed to decipher some of it, learning that the balloon had reached its apogee at approximately 55 thousand feet. Disappointed by the low apoapsis  as well as the cryptic data, we set out to launch our next HAT, the Gemini 2.

The team pictured with the intact Gemini-01 module.