With the launch of HAB-5 we had our first major setback as a club. After our initial ascent, we began encountering issues with our infamously-inconsistent APRS, and it pooped out completely soon after. Fortunately, the SPOT did function correctly, but it seems as though upon landing the balloon was overturned or some object covered the SPOT to prevent its signal from being communicated with satellites that we rely on to track it.
Regardless, the balloon saw us really come together as a group as we taught others skills varying from soldering to coding to logistical planning with the FAA. Though we did not recover this particular balloon, an 80% success rate over the past two years is vastly higher than many HAB teams can site.
Since learning about the Global Space Balloon Challenge in the fall of 2014, we have experienced a journey that has often been challenging, at times been exhilarating, occasionally been very stressful, and always been fun. It’s a journey that took this group from a group of friends sitting around a table at lunch spewing crazy ideas to a legitimate organization that has accomplished more than any other club at our school. We’ve gained international exposure for our school and club and been able to drastically expand the STEM and Maker Culture at our school, and for all of this we are abundantly humbled and grateful.