Camp was held for 4 days 7/18/22 through 7/28/22  at the Teen Center for Excellence in Ferguson.  Students launched high altitude weather balloons at various heights collecting imagery and data to analyze. In addition to our current programming, this project is designed to connect area high school kids to St. Louis’ growing geospatial community.  This Fall is targeted for the official launch of the new program.

Starting at the planning stage students will design an instrument platform for a high altitude weather balloons. The platform will be expected to be equipped with a camera and sensors for data collection. Early launches will be at low altitudes under 150ft to test the rig and make modifications. The main launch will be tethered around 400ft and will supply the data the students will later analyze. As a bonus – if the platform is suitable for high altitude and time permits we would do a final high altitude (untethered) launch and attempt to collect the platform and data where it lands.

We have settled on a Raspberry Pi based tracking and flight computer based on the work done by Dave Akerman called FlexTrak.  It’s based on LoRa for communication.  Tracking is done via a USB receiver connected to and Android Phone (HAB Explora app) or tablet (HAB PADD app) It should give live telemetry and images the entire flight.  We’ll start with a temperature sensor and let the students pick the other sensors.

Imagery will come from a GoPro and a Raspberry Pi camera.  Tethering will be done with a 150lb braided Dacron line.  Dacron was chosen merely because the knots do not need to be sleeved. 


Launch Vehicle

350g Balloon

1 meter parachute

Triangular equipment platform

Dacron (150lb) fishing line for tether




FlexTrak High Altitude Balloon Tracker- installation manual

Default Frequency for FlexTrak is 434.225Mhz

2Mtr APRS Addon Board

LoRaGo OTG Transceiver Dongle

Spot Trace GPS tracker

Video and Imagery

GoPro Hero3 and Hero3+


Instructions to make your payload antenna

Mag mount antenna for the chase vehicle

Collinear antenna for the base station




HAB Explora

HAB Padd



Full Flight Instructions

HABhub Balloon Burst Calculator

Balloon Performance Calculator

Flight Predictor

Launches from around the world

FAA Regulations

Moored Balloon Flights

High Altitude Flights



Channels:  highaltitude or habhub

Pictures from our first tethered launch in Forest Park.