theos The Edge of Space theos

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  • 26/08/2011:
    Now that finals and graduation are out of the way, a video of the balloon flight has finally been released onto YouTube.

  • 25/08/2011:
    The MPhys project reports written by the four students can now be found on the results page.

  • 06/05/2011:
    An article about the project features on one of our sponsors website:

  • 08/04/2011:
    Still pictures from the flight can now be found by clicking on the images under "THEOS-1 flight,
    2011 April 8" in the gallery page.

    Videos and scientific results will follow shortly.

  • 08/04/2011:
    The launch was a success! After the launch, we drove down to Gamston in Nottinghamshire to wait
    and have some lunch. We had the good luck to look up at just the right time and we were able to
    see the balloon overhead due to its 10m diameter at max altitude. This allowed us to determine, to
    the nearest minute, the time at which it burst. After receiving a location text from the Xexun
    TR102-2 we drove off and found it completely intact, in a field, near Hose in Leicestershire.

  • 08/04/2011:
    After extensive communication with the CAA and air traffic control we were given the OK for
    launch today at 11am. Yesterday's cancellation was somewhat fortunate because we discovered
    that the Canon A430 had stopped working after the payload box was sealed.

  • 07/04/2011:
    All safety procedures were followed; the final one being to call air traffic control half an
    hour before launch. Unfortunately, there had been some miscommunication between air traffic
    control and the CAA which meant that air traffic control could not give us the OK to launch,
    meaning the first THEOS launch had to be cancelled.

  • 06/04/2011:
    Launch tomorrow (07/04/2011) from surprise view car park; between Hathersage and The Fox House Inn.

  • 01/04/2011:
    Almost all preparations have been completed and we are just waiting for the right winds
    to do the first launch. We expect this to be during the week beginning 04/04/11.

  • 31/03/2011:
    The payload recieved its coating of bright orange gaffer tape. This has three purposes:

    • 1) Extra strength,
    • 2) Water proofing,
    • 3) High visibility.

  • 29/03/2011:
    We wanted to test the deployment of the parachute so we set it up with the half-finished payload box
    loaded with weights equal to the combined weight of the components and dropped it off the side of the
    lower roof of the physics building.

    Photographs and a video of the test can be found on the gallery page.

  • 28/03/2011:
    The final payload box has been built. It was designed with a central box that houses all of the components
    on two layers. On each end, extended sections were added to make the box streamlined. Our aim is
    that this shape should mean that the payload will not spin, thus meaning our in-flight footage should be
    far more pleasing to watch than others have achieved.

  • 27/03/2011:
    All data logging and imaging equipment tested for battery and data retrieval. All GPS
    devices tested for accuracy, battery life and signal performance through the box walls.

  • 24/03/2011:
    Tested the Garmin etrex H gps logger.

    We took a lot of data which needed to be downloaded from the unit to a computer
    to extract the data. The Logger did not come with a cable to connect to a PC, so
    one had to be made from an RS232 9pin D connector, a usb,- RS232 interface cable,
    and a 4-core cable. Each wire in the cable was connected to a pin on the device through
    a home made connnection interface.

    To call the data, a piece of third party sofware had to be used. "Easy GPS" was the one
    used, where data could be extracted when the Garmin was left in the standard garmin
    interface mode. Longitude, latitude and altitude as a function of time was extracted.

    The EasyGPS software can be obtained from

    Information on how to construct the required cable can be found at

  • 21/03/2011:
    We purchased a small buzzer and 9V battery to be put inside the payload that will help
    us find the payload should the GPS location not be spot-on.

    The flashing LEDs that we will attach to the payload to help us find it in the dark
    (should locating it take that long) arrived from:

  • 17/03/2011:
    The balloons, hand warmers and cord arrived from

  • 10/03/2011:
    Parachute from arrived.

  • 09/03/2011:
    Begin contruction of test payload box.

    Click here to see pictures.

  • 08/03/2011:
    MSR145 from our sponsor arrived.

  • 28/02/2011:
    The Xexun TR102-2 from arrived.

  • 25/02/2011:
    Garmin eTrex H from and the LASCAR EL-USB-2 humidity data logger from
    our sponsor arrived.

  • 24/02/2011:
    This web page goes live!

    The final specification for our payload has been chosen and orders have been placed.

    The Tachyon XC HD head cam has already arrived from our sponsor, as has the
    Lascar EL-USB-TC temperature data logger from our sponsors

contact:   Prof. Vik Dhillon, Department of Physics & Astronomy, University of Sheffield, Sheffield S3 7RH, UK     Tel: +44 (0)114 2224528     Email: vik.dhillon .at.