Leonids '99

November 19, 1999 Balloon recovered near Calhoun Georgia

by Ralph Fowler (N4NEQ) and Dave Hoffman (KE4FGW)

Photos Copyright(c)1999 by Ralph Fowler and Dave Hoffman

Lots of BIG photos, so please be patient while they download

If your display is not 1024x768, you will have to scroll to the right to see the first two pictures

I apologize if you have viewing problems- I was in a hurry and I'll improve this as soon as I can get a bit more time. Thanks




APRS+ track of the balloon's and Ralph's path





APRS+ plot of the position errors from the balloon's GPS after the landing


DF Van



Here’s N4NEQ’s DF van waiting for permission to enter the hunting preserve / tree farm where the balloon landed. No way were we going to go into this place without permission. There were people with GUNS in there!


Heading into the forest





Once we got permission and an escort, we headed into the forest. As you can see, this part of the pine forest was pretty recently planted.

Parachute and Payload in tree


After a lot of Dfing and climbing in and out of coves and canyons, we finally located the package on the ground. Part of the parachute can be seen suspended from a tree.









Well, we THOUGHT the package was on the ground. Looking up, we saw that the package carrying the beacon transmitter was high in a tree.






And so was another piece of the payload!








Ralph, N4NEQ, holds the radar reflector and the beacon and strobe packages.






A closer view of the strobe package













Radar reflector and strobe packages.





Opening the main payload compartment. Note the detailed instructions attached to the package. These tell how to secure and deactivate all of the electronics, as well as how to protect the particle-collecting Aerogel cartridges. The Aerogels are visible as a flat clear plastic box on the left edge of the assembly, between the two parachute lines.








Package is now open. The ATV wheel antenna is visible here, along with the GPS antenna (bottom right)












 Peeps in space! Yep, those are the first Easter Peeps to travel to the edge of space and be returned uneaten and intact! Justborn, (Peeps Manufacturer) Company- please take note!












N4NEQ (right) along with Lane, the hunter who took the day off from work to escort us through the hunting preserve. 













 KE4FGW, Dave (left) and Lane with the payload and parachute. Since Dave took most of the pictures, this is the only one he’s in. Sorry Dave












 Ralph proudly displays the recovered system. Note the NASA insignia on the package. The Aerogels are on top. This was the normal flying orientation of the package.










 Compared to the size of Dave’s car, the payload was quite large!










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Text and some photos Copyright © 1999 Ralph Fowler, N4NEQ

Other photos Copyright © 1999 Dave Hoffman