Purpose of the flight and payload description
The objective of the flight was to characterize the range capability of Motes -a common type of ground station used to manage sensors of any kind- for possible use with stratospheric assets connecting to a small satellite in low earth orbit. This was part of a project for developing the next generation of animal telemetry through a collaboration between NASA and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) under an Interagency Agreement. Current tracking systems using the ARGOS constellation provides data at wide intervals and have become financially inefficient. This project includes the redesign of the overall tracking infrastructure and data management architecture which could allow for an incremental step improving tracking capabilities.
The payload was composed by a Mote Ground Station developed by Wildlife Computers along with a battery pack to provide power and two antennas extruding the styrofoam gondola measuring 39 cm x 30 cm x 16 cm. Crush pads were also added to soften the landing. Animal Tags developed by the same firm were driven on vehicles on the ground below the flight area. The test consisted in establishing link with the Mote onboard the High Altitude Balloon and test range, data rates and connection stability throughout the flight while moving around in all terrain vehicles on the ground.
The final goal of the project if succesful, is to provide scientists the capability to download animal tracking data from satellites, using a stratospheric balloon as if it were a ground station.
Details of the balloon flight
Balloon launched on: 10/15/2018
Launch site: Naval Air Station Tillamook, Oregon, US
Balloon launched by: Near Space Corporation (NSC)
Balloon manufacturer/size/composition: Zero Pressure Balloon
End of flight (L for landing time, W for last contact, otherwise termination time): 10/15/2018