View Full Version : QinetiQ 1 - T Minus 72 hours

31st Aug 2003, 05:48
(Extracts from my QinetiQ 1 newsletter I recieved today...)

QinetiQ 1 pilots, Colin Prescot and Andy Elson, will attempt to break the world altitude record for a manned balloon on Tuesday 02 Sep 2003. Target altitude is 134,000ft. This update brings you news about Colin, Andy and the QinetiQ 1 team's final preparation activities for the forthcoming launch and where to get up-to-the-minute information on the day.

On the ground, the pilots need a clear day with a wind speed of no more than eight knots across the whole height of the balloon. This is so the balloon's apex is directly above the flight platform, otherwise the launch becomes unsteady and dangerous.

In the upper atmosphere the winds need to be calm. If too strong, shear winds could tear the balloon apart and strong upper winds could send the balloon too far to be retrieved. If winds are in the wrong direction, the balloon could travel the opposite way, i.e. over land, increasing the risk for those on the ground.

On the edge of space itself, the pilots are taking advice on the radiation levels. Last year, the solar particle levels were very high due to a proton event. This has been predicted as very unlikely for this summer, but is being monitored with other aspects of the weather.

All three of these factors need to be just right, which is why it has been vitally important to be patient for the right window of opportunity.

Where to keep up to date with the mission
The BBC will be covering the whole mission with regular updates throughout the day on BBC1, BBC2, BBC News 24 and BBCi.

You can also keep up to date with the 12-hour mission by visiting www.QinetiQ1.com. The website will bring you news and achievements during the mission and telemetry data from the balloon.

Good luck to them :ok:

2nd Sep 2003, 06:22
Thanks for the heads up ETOPS, i'd read about this ages ago and not realised it could be happening so soon, anyway here is the latest...

...URGENT NEWS RELEASE... QinetiQ 1 launch now set for Wednesday 3 September Pilots Andy Elson and Colin Prescot and the QinetiQ 1 team have just announced that the launch of the QinetiQ 1 balloon mission has been postponed for 24 hours, due to weather conditions, until the morning of Wednesday 3 September. The delay is due to unfavourable cloud formations at 6,000, 9,000 and 16,000 feet. These would have posed an unnecessary risk to the mission.

3rd Sep 2003, 18:31
Whoops, now definitely postponed, probably until next year, since it will take about two weeks just to check the fabric!