Nov 22 2011

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Lessons Learned – Thoughts for improvement

Just because we didn’t get any results doesn’t mean we didn’t see room for improvement. Here’s a partial list of things we noticed and things we’d like to improve.

  • Filling went reasonably well, but we didn’t have a way to measure how much gas had gone into the balloon, and we only had a rough estimate of the diameter when we released it. For calculations, we’d like to know some harder numbers. Perhaps some kind of scale to determine the lift of the balloon just before releasing it.
  • Three people was not enough for the launch. We needed at least one other person dedicated to documenting the process.
  • A game plan needs to be established before launching. Each person should know their responsibilities and the order of operations.
  • We made a lot of changes at the last minute because we were running out of time. It would have been nice to plan everything out and have it constructed slowly and methodically. Unfortunately the lateness of the foam made this difficult.
  • We should have waited for a better day to launch. The winds were strong on our launch day, and we may have lost the package in Lake Michigan.
  • We should investigate more reliable and continuous methods for tracking besides cell.

Things we did right:

  • Our launch location was great.
  • We had separate vehicles that were already en route to the destination when we launched to speed up recovery.
  • Filling the balloon with hydrogen went off successfully with no problems.

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