Saturday, June 16, 2012

First Foray into Balloon Photography

With the help of my daughter, we managed to build and fly our first photography balloon! 

I got the idea from reading an blog post months ago about people using balloons to get aerial pictures to enhance maps.  My daughter and I put our heads together and came up with a simple prototype with the materials we had on hand.  I have since found this site that gives a really good overview of a design:

From the prototype we flew today we discovered the following issues and thus our next design changes:

  • Wind drag - Reduce to just one large balloon as the two were catching turbulence from each other as well as from the wind.   The balloon didnt make it all that high due to it being constantly pushed away from us.
  • Stability issues - Follow the design from the Public Laboratory link to add stability arms and a better center of gravity.
  • String Management - Using a simple spool made it difficult to deploy / retrieve.  Definition going to get a hold of a cable reel.
  • Height - Definitely need more than 200 ft of string to get a better angle on the ground

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