Friday, November 1st, 2013 at
On November 2nd, 2013 WCU’s Physics Dept. will be launching Catamount 6, a high altitude weather balloon research and development project, at the Jackson County Airport (35.317N, -83.209W) between 9-10am. The payload consists of two white stirofoam boxes for the housing of amateur radio equipment, a camera, and scientific equipment to measure and record cosmic radiation and search for gamma radiation up to the stratosphere. The payloads will be properly labeled with contact information.
A team of tract and recovery (TAR) vehicles will follow the balloon, as coordinates will be uploaded to aprs.fi and is expected to remain in flight for at least 120 minutes. Over the past week, projected trajectories show the flight path in a pie slice easterly direction. The landing area is large and is made up with the point of the pie at the launch site at the Jackson County Airport, with the other points near Gastonia, NC and Statesville, NC. As the launch date gets closer, more accurate trajectories will be posted.
The balloon could land anywhere, and the teams are equiped with supplies for proper retrieval. The National Parks Service, NC Parks Service, SC Parks Service, VA Parks Service, NC Game and Wildlife and NC, SC, and VA State Police are included in this notification of the project and will be working with the recovery teams if the payload should land on their properties. Directional anteannas will be used in locating the downed experiment and all safety precautions will be met. Every effort will be made to contact the appropriate land owner/manager before searching begins. We also are aware that hunting season is in full swing and our TARs will be wearing bright orange gear if required to enter wooded areas.
The balloon is anticipated to carry two payloads to 100,000 feet and then burst. A yellow and blue parachute will float the payloads back to earth. Below is the most recent projected tracks the payload containers, and parachute. Earlier tracks have placed the payloads landing near Gastonia, NC, Lincolnton, NC, Hickory, NC, and Statesville, NC.
Again, we should have a much more definite trajectory path the day before and the day of launch. Another email will be sent reflecting the latest information for this launch on Friday, November 1st, 2013.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me at the number below.