Picoballoon Launch 10: Halfway Around the World!

At the beginning of Week 3 of Launch 10, we were getting excited that this balloon might circumnavigate the globe. The prediction made from the middle of Egypt showed strong winds would take the balloon to the West Coast within 5 days, maybe even crossing the -122 degree longitude line of our launch site before heading back out to sea.

HYSPLIT trajectory forecast

Flight Results

Unfortunately, the picoballoon only survived two more days in the Middle East. In a situation eerily similar to W6MRR-17, a single packet was received from the ground in southwest Uzbekistan near the Turkmenistan border. The altitude reported was less than 900 meters (encoded in the WSPR power field as 0 dBm or 1 mW). Maybe the tracker was stuck in a tree, or just laying on the ground, we will never know. The single packet from the ground was received by Jari Perkiömäki OH6BG in Finland, approximately 3,700 km away.

WSPR.rocks map overview

This picoballoon made it all the way from gridsquare CM87 to MN10. The center of MN10 is 63 degrees East longitude, which means that the balloon traveled 186 degrees of longitude around the world. We barely passed the halfway mark!

W6MRR-18 analysis

This balloon traveled approximately 7,551 km during the day and 15,519 km at night, for a total distance of 23,070 km (~14,335 miles). This distance is straight-line distance between gridsquares, so the actual distance is probably a bit further as the balloon took some turns in the air. The average speeds over the course of the 348 hour 26 minute flight was around 67 km/hr (42 MPH), which is not all that fast.

The average sun angle numbers did not change all that much with the added day, with the balloon beaconing whenever the sun is more than 30 degrees above the horizon.

With the success of this flight, we will launch again soon. All of the WSPR packets from the third week can be downloaded here.