Thursday, June 11, 2009

Day 79, 6/11/09 -- Launch day!

Well, we launched! The launch looked picture-perfect, but something traumatic happened and something in our elevation actuator broke and the elevation was stuck at about 15 degrees. Not only that, we haven't been able to solve with the star camera all day. It's possible that, due to the low elevation, there's enough atmosphere in the way that the sky is too bright to see stars, which is a major bummer.

On the plus side, a lot of the ACS sensors and control systems are working great. The detectors, after a few hiccups, seem to be running smoothly. The half-wave-plate system has been purring like a kitten. And the baffles survived launch and seem to still be intact because we can't see any sun-synchronous signal.

The float winds were predicted to be high, and indeed have been in the high-40-knot range all day, meaning that the payload just zoomed off to the west after reaching float altitude. Thus, shortly after the launch (at about 11AM), Britt and I left, following Randall, Dorothy, and Bo from CSBF in the recovery trucks. We caravaned across New Mexico, ending up in Winslow, AZ to meet up with the downrange team.

As of 9:40PM New Mexico time, the EBEX flight has been terminated. It is predicted to land slightly east of Lake Havasu, AZ. Britt, myself, and possibly Jeff will meet up with the CSBF recovery team at 3AM to begin the drive out to the western edge of AZ, where we will have to try and figure out how to extricate EBEX from the mountains it looks likely to land in.

Launch video:

EBEX Launch, 6/11/09.

Launch pictures will be up later, probably after recovery and I've had some time to sleep.

EDIT: Launch pictures:


  1. Bummer. So no data yet?

  2. Hey people ... your balloon disturbed some Arizonians as ocurred before with NCT

    take a look at from Prescott, AZ

    Also I've received at my website a couple of messages asking for the origin of the balloon

    Best regards and soft and upright landing

  3. More news of sightings and beautiful pictures:

    At and

    Excuse I'm not including the full URL but I can't paste anything here :-(

  4. Just curious. How does a balloon launched from New Mexico end up in AZ when the winds across AZ at all levels were from the southwest at over 60 kts at 40,000ft?

  5. Elemental Watson ...the balloon was flying at 115.000 feet :-)

  6. An espectacular picture was taken by the Lowell Observatory at Mars Hill, Flagstaff (AZ) it can be seen at


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