Lessons Learned

Eclipse Coordination Event 08/04/2015  –  Summary

Thank you to all of the teams that participated in the second eclipse coordination event! Feedback has been amalgamated and placed here for team use.

Teams reported a number of unanticipated events throughout prelaunch set-up and flight tracking. This is why we practice!

Some lessons learned:

  • Make sure all necessary electronics are charged and bring battery backup units.
  • In case of dead batteries or faulty equipment, have the flight prediction program on another computer.
  • Keep computer equipment in a cool, protected area to avoid impacts or overheating.
  • Keep computer equipment in a cool, protected area to avoid impacts or overheating.
  • Keep copies of important documents on Google Docs or Dropbox.
  • Keep 2 flash drives with 2 different people in case one is lost/misplaced.
  • When renting a helium tank, bring a tool box for any unexpected issues with the tank equipment.

More things to keep in mind:

  • Teams that anticipate to launch in areas with drastic and rapid weather variations may want to check for changes in the flight prediction thoroughly and often as the actual event nears.
  • Have a backup launch site should a sudden change in climate occur.
  • Anticipate traffic and carefully arrange your route to avoid heavily traveled roads and highways.
  • Teams/groups could become a funded school club. Regular meetings would help recruitment and team collaboration, assigning project leaders would help to create a greater sense of personal responsibility.

These are all valuable lessons and ideas! We hope that taking these forward into the remaining eclipse coordination events will help to strengthen and smooth progress!

Some teams had a very successful practice event. Preflight set-up went smoothly, predicted flight was accomplished and followed by a quick retrieval. We invite these teams to share any information they feel directly attributed to their success!

If not already, teams may want to consider making a more detailed document or spreadsheet of their launch checklists. Several good examples were shared with us, including the checklist from North Dakota HAB and an entire “Operations Package” from Strato. Great job guys!

  1. ND HAB checklist: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1BFoyrj4sGW5FKjJg3M6zULf4RaXb3LfuXrqPd2ag1TI/edit?usp=sharing
  2. Strato Operations Package: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1_x48trlinHP66KxGfBAz4d7F0DRMLQrES6j_Pk62Mo4/edit?usp=sharing

An idea going forward:

  • Creating a standardized format for checklists or a “your checklist should include…” sheet paired with some examples.

Another thank you for returning time and location data! A master 08/04/2015 event sheet has been created using data included in the excel spreadsheets submitted by each team. Teams that may want to review their data have been highlighted in yellow.

Some things to keep in mind:

  • List and work around the C2 time of the eclipse.
  • Local time is the time local to the area you are launching from on August 21, 2017.
  • Latex balloons typically take ~80 minutes to reach the respected altitude of 90,000 ft. We would like teams to be at an altitude of 80,000-90,000 ft by the C2 eclipse time in their local area. This would require them to begin their checklist anywhere from 3 to 2 hours ahead of launch time.