Czech-ing Out The View From 31 Kilometers

The team at czANZO, the Czech Amateur Near-Space Object group, sent up one of the best high-altitude balloons we’ve ever seen last weekend and the resulting video is remarkable.

The team’s build blog (Google Translate link for everyone without Chrome) goes through the design and construction of their payload. Like every other balloon build we’ve seen, a styrofoam cooler is used for the enclosure, but there’s a lot of really neat additions that make this build special.

The team included a cut down device in the event the balloon gets caught in the jet stream. Without this cut-down device the balloon could end up hundreds of miles away from the launch point. That’s the reason for the cut-down device they’ve given, although we suspect it’s an excuse to play around with pyrotechnic rope cutting. The optical and audible alarm is something we haven’t seen on many high-altitude balloon launches, which is odd because it made ground recovery much easier.

The team has a lot of video from the flight that [Pavel Richter] dumped onto Vimeo. We really like the footage showing all of Prague, you can check that out after the break.

19 thoughts on “Czech-ing Out The View From 31 Kilometers

  1. oh god.. please, there are 2 kinds of people:
    1) people who don’t know what ‘czech’ even means
    2) Czech people who go to places like hack-a-day to escape from stupid Czech sites everyone talks about (in Czech Republic, obviously).

    Don’t do puns like that.. I beg you.
    I think any good Czech hacker doesn’t associate with other Czechs in any way (and if ever, only by complete accident, not being even aware of the fact).

    1. Do you know that in italian “Czech” is “Ceca”, which for means “(she) blind”?

      If your don’t like puns you have to try to explain to your italians friends that you didn’t order a new sword from the “Blind Republic”!

    2. Well i am Czech citizen (btw you can find me in hackerspace too) and i was traveling abroad when this article was published – and guess what… i’ve used “Czech-it-out!” several times when talking to people on my trip :-) and now, when i am online again, i see that i am not only one who finds it to be obvious pun :-)

      1. I sent the link and the back story to Hackaday, but they never posted anything. I wasn’t surprised though. When I did the Big Mouth Billy Bass hack a few years ago, I had to send them a couple of emails to get them to post it. On the bright side, if you google the string “rickroll space”, we’re everywhere. Even made the local news in LA.

    1. Nice work. I really don’t understand the humor behind the whole Rickroll thing, but I never was one of the cool kids.

      You guys should really read FAR101 carefully – the weight limit is 6lbs, not 4lbs (assuming you’re sending up a reasonable sized payload).

  2. If you get that high I wonder if you could put a sensor on the balloon, so you know if it is about to pop (im guessing thats why they come down to earth) and if so use an attached rocket to burn the gas in the balloon, to get the camera into space :D

    1. Stop wondering and think about drag: this balloon is floating in the air, you cannot drag it through that same atmosphere without popping it or setting it alight with your rocket exhaust.

      1. I believe his intention was that, by the time you light the rocket, you could release the balloon. Just using the balloon as a primary stage for your rocket.

        Unfortunately, this probably wouldn’t be that effective, or I imagine we would have done it as a means of cheap space access. I’ve thought about it myself.

        I know that a very lightweight model rocket might go, for example, a couple thousand feet in the air, or probably less. Well, if you’re at 100,000 feet, another couple thousand feet is just trivial.

        That and to actually achieve orbit you need to be going like 17,000 MPH or something like that.

    2. The concept is called a “rockoon”. To accomplish this, you need a big rocket and an even bigger balloon — and in the end all you get is an advanced vertical sounding rocket, nothing orbital.

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