South Texas Balloon Launch Team launches balloon aimed at China

My daughter and I made the short trip to the No Label Brewing Company in Katy TX to watch the South Texas Balloon Launch Team launch a helium balloon aimed at Nanjing China. Thanks to Tom AE5QB for letting us know about this event!

To track the balloon in real time go to :

From the press release of the South Texas Balloon Launch Team:

The South Texas Balloon Launch Team is pleased to announce the upcoming launch of its twenty-eighth, helium-filled, unmanned balloon in twenty one years. The purpose of this flight is to establish a world record for distance by floating a balloon from Katy, Texas to Nanjing, China.

The balloon will be released at approximately 3 P.M. CST on Saturday, February 11, 2012. The site of the launch is at the western end of the No Label Brewery complex at 5373 First St., Katy Texas, near the old rice grain silos.

The public is invited to this free event, with a special invitation to science students and teachers. Free helium-filled balloons will be available to the first 100 students. Sorry, no pets allowed in the balloon area.

The balloon payload package weighs only about five ounces (150 grams) and contains a high altitude GPS tracking system and a VHF amateur radio transmitter. To conserve weight and battery life, no camera equipment will be on board. The maximum altitude is expected to be above 100,000 feet, with horizontal speeds between 100 and 150 MPH. The balloon size will increase from about five feet to about 39 feet at maximum elevation. Recovery of the payload package is not expected.

Individuals may follow the balloon’s progress on the Internet by logging onto APRS, filling in the “track callsign” field with “kt5tk-11”, and change the “show last” to 24 hours.

The South Texas Balloon Launch Team is composed of about twenty active amateur radio “Ham” operators from a variety of occupations who donate their time and expertise.

We appreciate the continued support by No Label Brewing Company for our amateur radio projects.

Owen Morgan, KF5CZO, is a regular contributor to and writes from Texas, USA. Contact him at [email protected].

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