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HSA-III landed and recovered

posted Aug 31, 2010, 1:00 PM by Ryan Butcher   [ updated Sep 1, 2010, 2:26 PM ]
We decided to send HSA-III up for another test flight in the evening of 8/30/2010.  After taking a look at the trajectories we estimated the best place to launch was to be from east of Jamesville NC.  

We launched the pod around 6:30pm and watched it cruise up by eye till about 15k feet.  It was a very clear day.  About an hour after the launch we got a phone call from Greenville saying they could see the pod with binoculars,  so we pulled over on highway 64 and took a look.  Sure enough, the sun was at the right angle,  and not a cloud in the sky so it lit up like a light bulb (it was probably about 20 feet around at that point). We could actually see the unit from the ground moving around up there at about 70k feet!  We watched it cruise across the sky for about half an hour and then lost sight of it.  People on the ground in Greenville reported they could see it coming down and the beacon while it descended.  

It landed in Grifton NC shortly after dark and after some country road navigation we found the payload in some powerlines that crossed through some heavy wooded land.  After spotting it we decided it was best to tackle the recovery in the morning.  At about 7am we retrieved the payload and some good pictures.  Condensation fogged up a lot of the pictures from 10-50k but over that we got some good ones as the sun set.  

Check out the pictures on the HSA-III page here.

Panoramic of the sunset and curvature from HSA-III: