Balloon Launching System

System Description

High Altitude Balloon Launching System

This simple and inexpensive high altitude balloon launching system carried a four pound payload to an altitude of 44,000 feet and released the payload within 150 feet of the target release altitude.

The High Altitude Balloon Launching System was a student project under the Integrated Product Development course at Lehigh University. Our team was responsible for prototyping, testing, and ultimately planning for the product launch of a high altitude balloon launching system. This product was designed with Professor Grenestedt’s high altitude autonomous glider launch in mind, but can also launch other payloads to an altitudes of over 60,000 feet.

The balloon launching system can be split into several key components which include the balloon, electronics package, hot wire cord cutter, load carrying cord, global positioning system, and product packaging. In the spring of 2010, each of these components were researched, designed, and in most cases initial prototypes were constructed and tested. During the fall 2010 semester,  the individual components were integrated into a single product.

After a working prototype was constructed, testing took place to ensure reliability under a number of conditions. To start with, low temperature and low pressure tests were conducted on several of the individual components. After validating our design on the ground two high altitude launches were conducted.  successfully lifting a payload and releasing it at altitudes of 44,000 and  60,000 feet.

Moored balloon payload release test

Final high altitude launch tragectory

Early morning picture taken 44,000 feet above the earth's surface