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HSA-IV Tracking Data 
Status: Recovered Successfully 
Launch Date:
  September 3, 2010
Launch Location:  Grimesland NC
Recovery Location:  Washington NC
Over-Land Distance Traveled: 65 miles
Payload:  Still Camera, Video Camera
Team:  Ryan Butcher,  Joe Downing

HSA-IV was our hurricane hunter, sent up into Hurricane Earl early on September 3rd 2010 into the tail of the storm as it clipped the North Carolina coastline.  We first planned to launch at 6am but waited until a break in the sky allowed for the capsule to travel safely to altitude.  We got over 50 amazing videos and over 2000 still images from the two on board cameras.  One video clearly catches the sounding balloon exploding at its apex.  You can clearly see the hurricane and the coast of the Carolinas (Cape Lookout most definitively).  The odd winds of the storm actually took it on a ride over 65 miles but landed it within 15 miles of our launch site perfectly laid out like laundry.

HSA-IV Images


We're planning on putting a few more of these into the paths of oncoming hurricanes.  We got some really amazing video from HSA-IV.  Once it reached the tropopause the turbulence leveled out considerably and caught some incredibly serene video including the balloon exploding at it's apex.  You can clearly see the radiation affecting the video at altitude as well as the lack of sound from the onboard electronics.  To compare,  watch the "HSA-IV: Decending via parachute" video and you can clearly hear the electronics,  then watch "HSA-IV: Serenity above Hurricane Earl" and it's quiet.

Check out the video below.  We uploaded these before we adjusted the contrast but they're pretty amazing shots that really put things in perspective.

HSA-IV Balloon Burst, Earl in background

HSA-IV: Inside Hurricane Earl

Balloon Bursting

HSA-IV: Serenity above hurricane Earl

HSA-IV: Decending via Parachute

Estimated trajectory