Balloon Challenge

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Hackspace member Gareth Howell has suggested participating in the Global Space Balloon Challenge.

"The Global Space Balloon Challenge is an international education outreach project to encourage people from around the world to build and launch their own high altitude balloons. Over a single weekend, teams from all over the world will launch balloons to the edge of space, recover them, and share the photos and data that they have collected. Our goal is to encourage people of all ages to get their hands dirty building their own space hardware, and to promote the spirit of hardware hacking and international STEM collaboration."

You can read the Google group discussion concerning the idea here.


Must-have payload

  • Camera (Multiple? Video or still? Or both?)
  • GPS logger
  • Basic environment logging (temperature, humidity, barometric pressure)
  • Batteries

Extra Payload/Feature Ideas

  • "Golden record" as per the Voyager missions
  • Live telemetry downlink
  • Command uplink
  • Geiger counter
  • Solar irradiance meter - Balloon will get in the way of readings from directly above though

Legal/Procedural Matters

CAA Permission and NOTAMs

Following information summarised from

  • CAA permission much be obtained before release (call 020 7453 6599 or email
  • This must be done at least 28 days prior to release.
  • Because weather will dictate precise date/time of release, a window of a few days can be specified.
  • The CAA will issue a NOTAM (Notice To Airmen) for these dates.
  • Maximum permitted payload weight is 4kg.

External Links

Global Space Balloon Challenge
UKHAS (UK High Altitude Society)