Operation Ice Dragon – Part 6 – Where did It Go?

Ice Dragon LogoSome disappointing news, looks like the payload never reported back after the flight, I’ve run though a bunch of scenarios in my head, among them:

  • The tracking battery died before touching down, I did some pretty extensive testing, so this is not really my first thought.
  • The payload landed in the Atlantic Ocean off the east coast.  Looking over the initial assent reporting it looks like the balloon was rising at 600 feet per minute instead of 1000 feet per minute, this could have caused the balloon to go further east than expected, and maybe as far as the ocean.
  • The payload landed in a area with no reception and could not report it’s location.  Reviewing Verizon’s coverage area, it appears that just beyond and to the south of the estimated landing area, there’s a fairly large area with no coverage.  I’m leaning toward this scenario.
  • Some other error, the app failed, the package hit too hard or landed in water and broke the phone, I find this unlikely.

So lots of disappointment about not getting the cameras back but there is still a chance a nice person could find it and give me a call,  of course that will require some luck, but I’ve seen a fair number of projects recovered in this manner.

The entire project was sparked from a podcast I listened to where the host was encouraging people to “follow their whimsy.”  We spend a great deal of time talking ourselves out of things, “why do this”, following your whimsy is saying, why the hell not.  This has also spawned the hand built cannon for Declan’s Birthday and after the new year, a friend and I are going to try our hand at Podcasting.  I look forward to following more whims.

While the cameras weren’t recovered the family had a great time putting everything together and launching the project, and just seeing that big old balloon take to the air was exciting and way more rewarding that I expected, awesome is a fair description.

Thanks to all the family and friends for their help today I couldn’t have got it in the air without you!

Since a ton of the leg work is already done in terms of finding suppliers and parts  perhaps another attempt is in order.  I’d only do it if we could track it with something that allowed for following the payload realtime, which is actually quite possible, but a HAM operators license is required… come to think of it, I’ve never had a HAM radio license.

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