School plans 2am balloon launch

Sun Chaser - LogoStudents at Queen Mary’s Grammar School, Walsall plan to launch the Sun Chaser 2 balloon (434.448 MHz USB) to capture images of the sunrise on Saturday, July 11.

Depending on altitude the signals from the balloon may have a range of up to 800 km, potentially covering much of the British Isles. Those outside the coverage area can receive the signals online using the SUWS WebSDR.

The school’s Project Horizon team say: We’re having a second attempt to capture footage of the sunrise from the Stratosphere over Wales/West England.

Watch the mission trailer

The report on launch 1 (some useful lessons learn’t, such as check interference by testing the GPS will all other kit running in the box and ALWAYS duct tape batteries into a cell holder) can be found here:

All being well, we have planned to launch from:

Location: Queen Mary’s Grammar School, Sutton Rd, Walsall, West Midlands, WS1 2PG
Latitude: 52.577498
Longitude: -1.965008
Altitude: 135m

The launch will take place at ~2:00am on Saturday 11th July (Sunday 12th is our reserve date).

The chase team will track and chase throughout the flight.

The probe will have a radio tracker (with two smartphone trackers as backup connected to two different networks). We’ve also got a couple of 16MP cameras and a GoPro onboard.

Tracker information:

Tracker: SUNCH1
Frequency: 434.448 MHz USB
Carrier Shift: 280-290
Baud Rate: 50
Bits per character: 7 (ASCII)
Parity: 0
Stop Bits: 2

As before, we’ll probably be the only ones tracking (unless any of you are night owls) so we’ll do our best. Our internet connection may be patchy at times so be prepared for quiet moments when we’re passing through low signal areas (we’ve got two hotspots with us: EE and O2).

We’ll be posting a steady stream of updates to twitter:

We’re quietly confident, now we just need the wind speed on the ground to drop to 3-5mph 😉

Wish us luck!

QMGS Project Horizon

Links for tracking balloons online and the SUWS WebSDR are at