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CNSP STEM Outreach & Menlo College

April 21, 2014


The California Near Space Project STEM outreach program flew a high altitude amateur balloon for students from Menlo College, Atherton, CA.  Andrew Vargas was the Project leader and coordinator of the first high altitude balloon launch for Menlo College. The launch was called M.O.S.S. “Menlo Oaks Space Shuttle”. M.O.S.S. was launched from San Jose near Hwy 85 and Almaden Expressway about 7:30 am on the morning of April 21, 2014. Highest altitude was 89,000 ft. and landed few miles north of Modesto with last data point recorded on at 9:22 am. Call sign was KI6BEN-11.
Andrew Vargas packaged a GoPro camera in a Styrofoam box, along with an amateur radio APRS transmitter that output position data on 144.390 MHz. Ron and Lee Meadows from CNSP selected the balloon and did calculations of gas lift. Ron and Lee were assisted by Frank Meadows and Don Ferguson during equipment checkout, balloon fill, and launch.
The launch was delayed about 1/2 hour because the GoPro camera was interfering with the GPS. This interference was solved by separating the GPS/APRS transmitter from the GoPro camera payload. The GPS/APRS transmitter dangled on string a few feet below the GoPro payload.
Unfortunately the video footage stops, not capturing the descent and landing . Although the camera still had 3 hours of space left and power.
Payloads separated during PBC. The ARPS tracker was recovered by Ian Kluft, KO6YQ on a golf course. Shortly after recovery, Don Ferguson, AI6RE and Andrew Vargas arrived.
The payload was found on a ranch east of Copperopolis and west of Farmington. Jim Shane, a cattle rancher, recovered everything intact (the parachute, the ring, the Styrofoam payload with the camera inside).



Project leader and Producer of the flight video:
Andrew Vargas
Allocation Board of Menlo College
Outdoors Club:
Seren Mohn
Dr. Medlen
CNSP STEM outreach:
Ron Meadows
Lee Meadows
Frank Meadows
Don Ferguson
Michael Wright
Stratofox recovery and tracking:
Ian Kluft
Special Mention:
John Vargas
Tracy Newby
Mike Rennie
Jim Shane
Jace Miller