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CNNSP-04 (5-Nov-2005)

Launch Time:  16:48z
Launch Location:  Seward, NE
Max Altitude:  92,293 ft
Max Speed:  39.7 mph
Avg Ascent Rate:  1095 ft/min
Avg Descent Rate:  2633 ft/min
Flight Duration:  2 hr 3 min
Distance (Great Circle):  86 miles



After much deliberation we decided to launch from Seward, NE at the fairgrounds instead of Wood River, to avoid landing in the Lincoln or Omaha area. We arrived around 10:00 CST to find out we weren’t the only ones that wanted to use the fairgrounds. There was some other event going on and almost no parking places left, however, we were able to find a small area to fill and release the balloon. We had plenty of help to hold and fill the Kaymont TX1000 gram balloon. A light breeze started to blow out of the north as we were filling, but wasn’t too difficult to manage. The flight string was attached and we were ready to release by about 10:40, about 20 minutes ahead of schedule. Mark and Wayne from NSTAR offered to help with chase and recovery from the Omaha area, but were helping provide communications for a Veteran’s Day parade until late morning. A quick phone call to Mark and Flight Service to append the launch time and we released the balloon at 10:48 into a mostly overcast sky. Initial ascent rate was in excess of 1300 ft/min. Once again I used a little too much Helium. I may have to invest in a pressure gauge with a little better precision on the low end in order to more accurately determine how much gas remains in the cylinder. The two APRS beacons and the CW beacon performed well, until the balloon burst at 96,293 feet. The WY0F-11 beacon suffered a broken solder joint on the antenna connection, which will be replaced with a bulkhead connector for the next flight. The CW beacon was heard in Minnesota, however this is the second time the antenna wire was severed after balloon burst. I don’t know if this is due to the insulation of the wire being cold and brittle, or something else. We stayed on I-80 for the majority of the chase, until we headed north towards Persia, IA while making contact with Mark and Wayne, who were just ahead of us. Jack got a visual on the payloads as they were descending about a half-mile ahead of us. Recovery was in a cornfield (go figure) about ¼ mile or so off of the main road. We headed back to Council Bluffs for a late lunch at Perkins. This was the first flight for the atmospheric pressure sensor and battery monitor, which seemed to perform well.