FS #5 Launch Update 2010-03-12 – Cancelled

The weather forecast for Saturday is not looking good and the launch of FS5 will be postponed for better weather conditions. Stay tuned for an new date.

The first wave of a cut-off low pressure system zeroing in on Southern California passed yesterday with a lot of needed rain. The predictions are that this system will slowly pass over us in the coming days and should be out of the area by Saturday’s launch date. However, the predicted ground winds are to high. The winds are predicted to  10-20 mph winds, getting stronger as the morning progresses. That level of wind too high for launching operations.


In flight, wind is not a problem at all, the balloon just floats along in the wind. However, wind is a big problem for preparing the balloon for launch. The balloon has to be filled and this can be difficult with a large balloon blowing around violently. The lift of the balloon has to be measured to ensure the right amount of Helium gas is in the balloon. Too little Helium and thus too little lift: the balloon won’t get off the ground. FS#2 had this problem and skipped across the ground never taking off.  Fortunately, we chased it down on foot and added more lift.

We measure lift by attaching a calculated weight to the balloon and when the balloon can just lift this amount it has the correct amount of gas inside. Wind blowing around the balloon creates a “false lift”, when the balloon is really being pulled sideways, so it is hard to measure the actual lift amount. Ideally there is no wind at launch.

Stay tuned

73s de Don KJ6FO


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