October 20, 2009

I suppose I should give a bit of a recap of how things have been progressing up to this point.

I don’t quite remember when I found out about Project Icarus, but I was a bit late to the party. I suppose I found out about it some time in the last week of September or so, and it instantly sparked my imagination. I knew immediately this was something I wanted to do, and so I read everything on their site, and all the news I could find about it, and started putting together a list of materials I would need. Along with this, I knew I needed to figure out where I could launch from, and so I spent a day or two with the Balloon Trajectory Predictor on the University of Wyoming website, picking out potential sites with the help of Google Earth to view local airports, since I assumed that it would be better for everyone (and more likely to be legal) if I launched far from an airport. Since I live in Chicago, I obviously couldn’t launch here anyway; with two major airports, there was a lot of air traffic. In addition, launching from here usually ends up with a predicted path that ends in Lake Michigan. Not so useful.

Since then, I’ve been working on gathering supplies; I’m trying to be frugal, while still excited to get things underway. With this in mind, I’ve expanded my budget a bit past the $150, to somewhere around $250, but I am keeping in mind the fact that most of the supplies should be reusable. Assuming successful recovery, I see no reason why I wouldn’t expand on things and have another go. I’m also trying to do obtain all the parts online; while this is probably non-notable, and impossible for some parts (at least the helium tank), I think it is interesting.

I’ve also been scouring websites related to high altitude ballooning, and other launches in a similar vein. I’ve linked many of the most useful and interesting in the sidebar, and I would suggest visiting them to anyone with even a passing interest. I’m also on the lookout for any links other people feel are useful!

I’ll try to document all my next steps from here on out, if for no other reason than they may be helpful to me, or at least a fun record to look back on. Ultimately I’d like to register a proper domain for this site, and set it up as a sort of project and data repository, for anyone interested in doing the same, although I figure that most people who want to do this are probably capable of tracking all this information down themselves, and putting together a blog, etc, I still think it could be useful to someone. Although if I’m duplicating something already out there, I’d love to know about that too.

Assuming you’ve read this far, thanks for your time, and hopefully I can provide some neat pictures in the near future!