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Operation Ice Dragon – Part 7 – So A Funny Thing Happened

Ice Dragon LogoSo, five days after the launch of Operation Ice Dragon I received a call from a kind fisherman stating he had found the cooler.  I couldn’t believe it, he said he would be coming into Port Canaveral the next day, and said if you would like to come pick it up your more than welcome.

So on the 29th of November I drove two hours to Port Canaveral to grab the payload and what was left of the balloon.  Below are two shots of the cooler right after popping open the lid, as you can see everything was still right where we left it.

I quickly unloaded the SD Cards from the cameras and the phone and washed them with distilled water.  Everything had been drenched in ocean water for the last five days so it was important to get as much of the salt water off them as possible.  After a quick washing I placed the cards in a container of rice in hopes of drying out internals.  I also removed the wooden trinkets we had placed as souvenirs in the payload and placed them in a separate bag of rice to dry them out.

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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.

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