Flying Squirrel #1 – Mission Goals


Flying Squirrel #1 (FS1) is the first of a series of small high-altitude balloons (Pico HAB) to be launched based on a design of being very affordable ($50 or less) per launch using as much “off the shelf” parts as possible.

FS1 does not have an onboard GPS so we will not directly detect its ground location during flight. However, FS1 will send regular air pressure, temperature and a computed altitude measurements using the FSQ protocol, transmitting on 28.140 USB with an approximate power output of 20mw.

FS1 is an experiment that will guide future missions and their design. It is intended to fail and teach us what failed so we can work on making the next flight less apt to the same failure. Learning occurs through trial and error.


Mission Goals

  1. Have fun and learn stuff.
  2. Testing of the materials and construction used. How does FS1 hold up to the real-world?
  3. Testing of the Radio Telemetry protocol and the Si5351a transmitter board. How far and how long can we hear the balloon? Will the FSQ protocol work well?
  4. Testing the environmental conditions at altitude. How cold does it get?
  5. Testing the behavior of the electronics at altitude and low temperatures, in a mostly unprotected state. Will parts fail at low temps and at what temp?
  6. Will the BMP085 sensor work past its documented limits of pressure and temperature?
  7. Test and develop methods used in ground support and launch of the balloon.
  8. What is the rate of ascent? – So far, we only have a slightly educated guess to go on.
  9. What is the burst altitude of the 36” balloon. – No hard information is available for these balloons.
  10. Document and share what we learned. – post mortem.


Launch updates will be posted on the FS1 Launch Update Page and on the @SquirrelEngineering Twitter feed.

Info on FS1 telemetry can be found on the FS1 flight controller software page.

For information on how to listen to FS1 watch this video.

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