My ‘Beat Felix!’ mission diary – March

6th March Sponsorship from Graham Sweet Studios

BF 6Mar Sponsor

A big box of polystyrene shapes arrived today. I am told by the team that these shapes are all from their new sponsor ‘Graham Sweet Studios’. They are potential cases for the two high altitude probes that the team will be building later this year. It’s amazing to think that two of these shapes will become little probes that might journey further above the planet than Felix Baumgartner did.

14th March – Launch dates finalised

Today is a very exciting day as the team have set the dates for all of their launches:

  • Horizon 3 (Probe name undecided as yet) will launch on Saturday 3rd May with reserve dates set for 4th, 10th and 11th May.
  • Horizon 4 (Probe name undecided as yet) will launch on Saturday 21st June with reserve dates set for 22nd, 28th and 29th June.
  • Horizon 5 (Probe name undecided as yet) will launch on Saturday 5th July with reserve dates set for 6th, 12th and 13th July.

It will be a busy summer for the team and I am very excited about launch day (fond memories, although Horizon 2 was a little cramped!). Wish them luck!


18th March – Long term battery test of the Flight Computer followed by team meeting

BF 18Mar Batt test

While they work on building the first flight computer from the new proto-type’s design the team set me the task of testing the battery life of the new power circuitry. The previous computer ran off 3 AA Lithium batteries. The new flight computer has a voltage booster circuit which means the computer can run off 2 AA Lithium batteries although this will shorten the battery life a little. I’m testing the actual battery life to see if the experimental data matches the predictions. It’s not an exciting job but it is interesting. I settled in for a long wait with a good book and a few snacks.

After 9 hours the signal started to fade a little and then, after 10 hours it died completely. The team are very pleased as this will give them plenty of time to launch and recover a probe even if it travels a long way across the country.


20th March – Cheque arrives from Jones Springs

BF 20Mar Chq

The team are all very happy as a local engineering company called ‘Jones Spring’ has generously donated a cheque to the project to help pay for the balloons and parachutes. The team don’t have much more sponsorship to raise now and what is even more impressive is that the school has not had to part fund the team this year; they have raised the money themselves thanks to enthusiastic and generous sponsors.


25th March – Beat Felix Team Meeting – Helping to setup Horizon TV

BF 25Mar TV

The Flight Computer Team began soldering the new flight computer this afternoon. I’m not the most dexterous of creatures so I joined the Sensor Array team as they took an afternoon off from working on the sensor array and set about getting Horizon TV up and running. Last year’s team came up with the neat idea of broadcasting launches live on the internet (although it didn’t go quite as smoothly as they hoped!). The Beat Felix Team plan to do the same so they logged into the old account and set about trying to broadcast. After a few false starts the camera went live and we could broadcast! It was quite fun having a little time in front of the camera but I don’t think I’m cut out for presenting, I’m told I’m a little quiet.


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